Alcohol use continues its gradual decline in all grades. Eighth, 10th and 12th graders reported past month use of 9.0, 23.5 and 37.4 percent respectively, compared to 10.2, 25.7, and 39.2 percent last year. This represents a significant drop in the past five years, with rates at 14.9 percent, 30.4 percent and 43.5 percent in 2009. There was a significant drop in binge drinking (five or more drinks in a row in the last two weeks) in 2014 among high school seniors, which is now under 20 percent. The most recent peak rate of binge drinking for seniors was in 1998 at 31.5 percent.
“We are encouraged to see a continued decrease in binge drinking among young people,” said George F. Koob, Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. “Still, nearly 1 in 5 high school seniors report binge drinking within the past two weeks, which is unacceptably high and underscores the need for underage drinking research to remain a priority.”