WASHINGTON — The major Federal study of youth behavior released today reported that underage drinking and binge drinking are at their lowest levels since the study’s inception in 1975, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

The 2014 Monitoring the Future Survey, jointly released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the University of Michigan, noted that alcohol consumption rates among 8th, 10th and 12th graders have continued their long-term decline, once again hitting record lows in 2014.

In announcing the results, the University of Michigan press release stated:  “Of perhaps greater importance, the proportion of teens who report ‘binge drinking’… fell significantly again this year to 12 percent for the three grades combined.”

The press release also highlighted the fact that:  “Peer disapproval of binge drinking has been rising since 2000 among teens.  Declines in availability may be another contributing factor to the drops in teen drinking.  In recent years, there has been a fair decline in all three grades in the proportion saying that alcohol is easy for them to get.”

“This is excellent news and underscores the effectiveness of public-private partnerships in producing real programs that have produced significant, tangible and historic results.  This is a societal problem that is trending in the right direction and it should be recognized,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy, a former college president.  “Key to this success is educating parents and other adults about the seriousness of providing alcohol to teens.”

According to the 2014 survey results, 8th, 10th and 12th graders reported past month alcohol consumption rates of 9.0, 23.5 and 37.4 percent respectively, compared to 10.2, 25.7 and 39.2 percent last year.  The survey also showed that 8th, 10th and 12th graders reported binge drinking rates (five or more drinks in a row in the last two weeks) of 4.1, 12.6 and 19.4 percent respectively, compared to 5.1, 13.7 and 22.1 percent in 2013.

Cressy noted that the spirits industry has been a part of this progress through the programs of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility and its support of other educational programs, including the Federal Trade Commission’s “We Don’t Serve Teens” program, which provides parents with tools to talk to their children about alcohol.

Conducted by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Monitoring the Future has tracked substance abuse among American high school students since 1975.  In 2014, the study surveyed over 41,000 students from 377 public and private schools throughout the United States.

Monitoring the Future Press Release and Tables

National Institute of Drug Abuse Press Release on Monitoring the Future Survey Findings