WASHINGTON— A major Federal study released yesterday reported that underage drinking rates in the past year have dropped or remained flat among 8th, 10th and 12th graders, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.
The 2009 Monitoring the Future Survey, jointly released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan, noted as a highlight of the survey that “From 2004 to 2009, decreases were observed in lifetime, past year, past month, and binge use of alcohol across the three grades.”

According to the study, alcohol use has generally been in a long-term, gradual decline at all three grade levels, with 30-day (or past month) prevalence having fallen from recent peak levels by over 40 percent among 8th graders, by over 25 percent among 10th graders, and by about one sixth among 12th graders.  This year the 8th graders showed a continuation of that decline, while use in the upper grades remained flat.

“Our country is making gradual but important progress in preventing and reducing underage drinking but much more needs to be done.  Industry, parents and the entire community working together can continue make a difference,” said Dr. Peter Cressy President of the Distilled Spirits Council and a former university chancellor.

Cressy noted that the spirits industry has been a part of this progress through its involvement in the FTC’s “We Don’t Serve Teens” campaign and through the programs of The Century Council, which provides parents with tools to talk to their children about alcohol.
Conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Monitoring the Future has tracked substance abuse among American high school students for 35 years.  In 2009, approximately 46,097 students, in grades 8, 10 and 12 representing 389 secondary schools across the country, participated in the survey.

Monitoring the Future data and tables