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America's Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2019

Alcohol Use

Alcohol is the most common psychoactive substance used during adolescence. Its use is associated with motor vehicle accidents, injuries, and deaths; problems in school and the workplace; and fighting, crime, and other serious consequences. Early onset of binge drinking, defined here as five or more alcoholic beverages in a row or during a single occasion in the previous 2 weeks, may be especially problematic, potentially increasing the likelihood of these negative outcomes.91

Indicator BEH2: Percentage of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students who reported having five or more alcoholic beverages in a row in the past 2 weeks by grade, 1980–2018
Indicator BEH2: Percentage of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students who reported having five or more alcoholic beverages in a row in the past 2 weeks by grade, 1980–2018

NOTE: Data for 10th graders for 2008 are not included because estimates are considered to be unreliable due to sampling error. See http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/data/09data.html#2009data-drugs.

SOURCE: National Institute on Drug Abuse, Monitoring the Future Survey.

  • In 2018, the percentages of 8th-, 10th-, and 12th-grade students who reported binge drinking continued a downward trend.
  • Binge drinking declined from the most recent peaks of 13% in 1996 to 4% in 2018 for 8th-grade students, 24% in 2000 to 9% in 2018 for 10th-grade students, and 32% in 1998 to 14% in 2018 for 12th-grade students.
  • In 2018, about 3% of male and 4% of female 8th-grade students reported binge drinking; among 10th-grade students, the proportion was 9% for males and 8% for female students. Sixteen percent of 12th-grade male students reported binge drinking, compared with 12% of 12th-grade female students.
  • Among 12th graders in 2018, 19% of White, non-Hispanic, 7% of Black, non-Hispanic, and 12% of Hispanic students reported binge drinking. In the same year, 4% of Black, non-Hispanic and 11% each of White, non-Hispanic and Hispanic 10th-grade students reported binge drinking. Among 8th graders, 3% each of White, non-Hispanic and Black, non-Hispanic students and 5% of Hispanic students reported binge drinking.

table icon BEH2 HTML Table

91 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2004/2005). Alcohol and development in youth—A multidisciplinary overview. Alcohol Research and Health, 28(3), 107–176. Retrieved from http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh283/toc28-3.htm