A major Federal study released today reported that underage drinking rates among 8th, 10th and 12th graders are at their lowest levels since the study’s inception, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

The 2010 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 “[f]or 12th graders 2010 marks the lowest level of alcohol use since the study’s inception in 1975. For 8th and 10th graders it marks the lowest point since these grades were first included in the study in 1991. Since 1991, thirty-day prevalence rates have fallen by about half among 8th graders, by close to one third among 10th graders, and by nearly one quarter among 12th graders.”

According to the study, the proportion of students reporting binge drinking at least once in the two weeks prior to the survey also fell in all three grades in 2010. “This is excellent news but much more needs to be done and we must not become complacent as a society. Parents, industry and the entire community working together can continue to make a difference,” said Dr. Peter Cressy, President of the Distilled Spirits Council and a former college president.

“This is also important news because it means that society is on the right track to solving this serious problem. Early and persistent education supported by tough laws and strong enforcement are working,” Cressy added.

Cressy noted that the spirits industry has been a part of this progress through the programs of The Century Council and other educational programs, which provide parents with tools to talk to their children about alcohol.

Conducted by the University of Michigan’s 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 36 years. In 2010, approximately 46,482 students, in grades 8, 10 and 12 representing 396 secondary schools across the country, participated in the survey.

Monitoring the Future Press Release and Tables