Underage Drinking is Decreasing

Polling data indicates that there are fewer underage drinkers, and they are drinking less. Each year, for example, the University of Michigan surveys the alcohol consumption trends among the nation's high school seniors. The most recent survey demonstrates that America's young people are getting the message about underage drinking.

The percentage of high school seniors classified as "current" drinkers (had at least one drink within the past 30 days) is down from a peak of 72 percent in 1978 to 51 percent in 1994, a 30 percent decline.

The percentage of seniors who drink alcohol beverages daily (20 or more times in the month before the survey) has declined from a peak of 6.9 percent in 1979 to less than 2.9 percent 1994, a 58 percent improvement.

The percentage classified as "heavy" drinkers (had five or more drinks in a row in the last two weeks) has declined from a peak of 41.4 percent in 1981 to 28.2 percent in 1994, a 32 percent improvement.

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