According to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), underage drinking across the United States has decreased throughout the last decade. The report took into consideration the efforts of community coalitions, law enforcement agencies, policy changes and awareness campaigns to prevent underage drinking.
The study examined data from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health report, which consisted of 67,500 participants aged 12 years and older. The study period started in 2002 and, during this time, the study indicated 28.8 percent of youths aged 12 to 20 years old had consumed alcohol over the past month. In 2013, the rate of drinking among that age group had decreased to 22.7 percent. In this age group, the rate of binge drinking, consisting of drinking five or more drinks on one occasion, had decreased from 19.3 percent in 2002 to 14.2 percent in 2013.
Alcohol is still the most commonly used substance among people ages 12 to 20 years old with 22.7 percent of people in this age group remarking on using it. Tobacco comes in second at 16.9 percent and illegal drugs are used by 13.6 percent of individuals in this age group.
SAMHSA has been proactive in executing prevention programs for underage drinking such as the “Talk, They Hear You” campaign, which encourages parents to talk to their children about dangers of drinking with their children.
In response to the study’s findings, Frances M. Harding, director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention said, “When parents communicate clear expectations and they are supported by community efforts to prevent underage drinking, we can make a difference.”
Currently, there are still 8.7 million underage drinkers and 5.4 million underage binge drinkers. These harmful habits create a serious risk to the health of these underage drinkers as well as the safety of those around them. Previous research has shown that youth who drink are 7.5 times more likely to abuse illegal drugs. Efforts at prevention and treatment for those teens who do drink are vital to help diminish the damage that could occur otherwise.
Sovereign Health Group is among the leading addiction treatment providers in the country. We offer a variety of inpatient and outpatient programs across the nation for patients who are struggling with addiction, mental health disorders and dual diagnosis. If you know someone who is struggling with addiction and is in need of treatment, please do not hesitate to call. You may reach us at 888-530-4614. Our admissions helpline is open 24/7 and our treatment specialist will assist you in finding the right treatment option for you.
Written by Benjamin Creekmore, Sovereign Health Group writer