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

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.

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

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study: Regulate alcohol marketing

May 02, 2006

The U.S. alcohol industry snares too many underage drinkers and its marketing practices should be federally regulated, a Columbia University study concludes.

Online alcohol threat to Britain's youth revealed

Jun 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 ...

TV alcohol advertising may play role in underage drinking

Apr 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 ...

More than half of Americans drink alcohol: report

Aug 01, 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.

Recommended for you

User comments