New statistics on underage drinking are in.
Nearly 28% of American youth aged 12-20 reported consuming alcohol in the past month, according to data released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, reflecting a relatively stagnant trend in underage drinking nationally. Rates were lowest in Utah (13.7%,) with North Dakota and Vermont at the top of the list (40.6 and 40.4, respectively.)
Of this 28%, only 9% reported buying the alcohol themselves the last time they drank. This in itself is heartening. Our Cops In Shops program, now in 49 states, focuses specifically on making it difficult for underage drinkers to acquire alcohol. We think this program has been pretty successful. However, the relatively small number of underage purchasers of alcohol this points to the need for stronger, more sensible social host laws to prevent teens from getting alcohol from parties or parents.
Alaska and New Mexico had the lowest rates of self-purchase, at 3.1 and 3.7%, respectively. This rate was highest in Louisiana and the District of Columbia, both at 18.8%.
While we’re disappointed by the lack of movement in these numbers, we’re seeing a lot of progress in some states. We’re going to keep working to ensure that the numbers keep dropping.