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U.S. Underage Binge Drinking Is On The Decline

Underage Drinking

The United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published a report last Thursday which shows a decline in both underage alcohol consumption as well as underage binge drinking between 2002 and 2013.

Examining underage drinking among those between the ages of 12 and 20, the report found a reduction from 28.8 percent back in 2002 to just 22.7 percent come 2013.

With underage binge drinkers, SAMHSA reports a reduction from 19.3 percent in 2002 to 14.2 percent come 2013. The administration notes that binge drinking is defined in the report as five or more drinks on the same occasion.

A couple of unrelated studies conducted by a team of international scientists has found that binge drinking may increase heart attack risk by 70 percent, but not just that, it’s also been linked to brain damage.

SAMHSA’s underage drinking survey suggests that there are approximately 8.7 million underage drinkers in the U.S. and about 5.4 million of them were binge drinkers.

As for preference when it comes to substances to abuse, 17 percent of youths in the survey—of which there were more than 30,000 involved—reported using tobacco, 13.7 percent illicit drugs, but still, alcohol came in at the number one spot as the most widely abused substance among youths surveyed.

An unrelated study published in the journal Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that allowing children to taste alcohol or more likely to drink come high school.

Frances Harding, the director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention was quoted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as having said that the target of a campaign developed by the administration called “Talk. They Hear You” is to “change social norms,” which Harding claims they’ve managed to accomplish.

Our target is to change social norms (…) Have norms been changed? Absolutely.

What do you think, is American society moving in the right direction? Are our youth on the right track?

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