A recent release of an annual study of drug and alcohol use conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) found that while marijuana use was on the rise, underage drinking continued a trend downward in 2013. Beer Institute President and CEO Jim McGreevy issued the following statement in response:
“While there is always more work to do, the fact that fewer underage youth are drinking is welcome news. America’s brewers and beer importers are committed to responsibility, and that means we are putting real money and real effort into our partnerships with law enforcement and community leaders to reduce underage drinking. These numbers prove that when we all work together, we can make a difference.”
The 2013 numbers demonstrate broad decline of underage alcohol use:
- Current drinking among 12-17 year-olds has declined 34 percent since 2002, to a record-low level.
- Binge drinking among 12-17 year-olds has declined 42 percent since 2002, to a record-low level.
- Heavy drinking among 12-17 year-olds has declined 52 percent since 2002, to a record-low level.
The data released by HHS coincides with the 25th annual observance of National Recovery Month by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Beer Institute member companies invest in hundreds of programs and initiatives to support public safety, education and prevention of underage drinking. Brewers and importers encourage parents to talk with their teens about making good, safe decisions. Research shows that by far parents have the most influence on teens’ drinking decisions. When it comes to drugs:
In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million Americans aged 12 or older were current (past month) illicit drug users. This represents 9.4 percent of the population aged 12 or older. Marijuana was the most commonly used illicit drug, with 19.8 million current users aged 12 or older (7.5 percent). There were 6.5 million nonmedical users of prescription-type drugs (2.5 percent), including 4.5 million nonmedical users of prescription pain relievers (1.7 percent). There were 1.5 million current cocaine users aged 12 or older, or 0.6 percent of the population. An estimated 1.3 million individuals aged 12 or older in 2013 (0.5 percent) used hallucinogens in the past month. An estimated 496,000 individuals aged 12 or older were current inhalant users, which represents 0.2 percent of the population. There were about 289,000 current heroin users aged 12 or older, or 0.1 percent of the population.
NSDUH is an annual survey of approximately 68,000 people throughout the country, aged 12 and older. The report findings are available on the SAMHSA website here.