1 in 4 in U.S. starts drinking before turning 21, report states

November 26, 2012
1 in 4 in U.S. starts drinking before turning 21: report
Six of the top 10 states for underage drinking are in the Northeast, analysis agency finds.

(HealthDay)—Underage drinking in the United States remains a serious public health issue, a new federal government report shows.

The analysis of data gathered between 2008 and 2010 from the U.S. National Survey on and Health found that more than 26 percent of 12- to 20-year-olds reported drinking in the month before they were surveyed, and nearly 9 percent said they bought their own the last time they drank.

The purchase and consumption of alcohol by anyone under age 21 is prohibited in the United States.

There has been progress in reducing the amount of underage drinking in recent years, particularly among those under 18 years of age. However, rates of underage drinking are still unacceptably high, according to the report released Nov. 20 by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Administration (SAMHSA).

"Underage drinking should not be a normal part of growing up. It's a serious and persistent public health problem that puts our young people and our communities in danger," SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde said in an agency news release.

"Even though drinking is often glamorized, the truth is that underage drinking can lead to , , injury and even death," she noted.

Rates of underage drinking were highest in Vermont (37 percent) and lowest in Utah (14.3 percent). Five other states in the Northeast were among the 10 states with the highest rates of underage drinking: Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Rhode Island.

New York also had one of the highest rates of underage youth illegally buying alcohol (15 percent). States with the lowest rates of underage youth buying alcohol included New Mexico (2.5 percent), Idaho (2.6 percent) and Oregon (2.6 percent).

Southern states had some of the lowest rates of (Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia) and some of the highest rates of underage youth illegally purchasing alcohol (Alabama, Louisiana, Kentucky, Mississippi and North Carolina), the investigators found.

Explore further: More than half of Americans drink alcohol: report

More information: The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about underage drinking.

Related Stories

More than half of Americans drink alcohol: report

August 1, 2011

More than half of Americans aged 12 and up drink alcohol, a quarter binge-drank in the past month, and one in 14 teens has used marijuana, a US government agency says in a report on substance abuse.

TV alcohol advertising may play role in underage drinking

April 29, 2012

Minors who were familiar with television alcohol advertisements were more likely to have tried alcoholic beverages and binge drink than those who could not recall seeing such ads, according to a study presented at the Pediatric ...

Online alcohol threat to Britain's youth revealed

June 18, 2012

(Medical Xpress) -- A new report published last week, by independent auditors of underage sales Serve Legal and Plymouth University, warns that online alcohol sales and purchasing by friends and family are creating a significant ...

Recommended for you

Higher intelligence score means better physical performance

August 14, 2015

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, the study reveals. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.