The 2015 Monitoring the Future Survey released today reported that teen underage drinking and binge drinking rates are at their lowest levels since the study’s inception in 1975, according to the Distilled Spirits Council.

Jointly released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse  and the University of Michigan, the Monitoring the Future Survey is a key federal measure of U.S. youth behavior.  Among the 2015 Survey highlights:

  • Alcohol use continues its gradual downward trend among teens, with significant changes seen in the past five years in nearly all measures.
  • Binge drinking (described as having five or more drinks in a row within the past two weeks) is 17.2 percent among seniors, down from 19.4 percent last year and down from peak rates in 1998 at 31.5 percent.

Professor Lloyd Johnston, the study’s principal investigator, noted that declines in availability may be a contributing factor to the declines 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, with the steepest decline among the youngest teens,” said Johnston.  “This suggests that state, community and parental efforts have been successful in reducing underage access to alcohol.”

Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy, a former college president stated, “Key to this success is educating parents and other adults about the seriousness of providing alcohol to teens. While there is more work to do, these continued declines in teen drinking underscore the effectiveness of public-private partnerships. This has resulted in significant and historic results.”

Cressy noted that the spirits industry has been a part of this progress through continued support of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility and 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, the Monitoring the Future Survey has tracked substance abuse among American high school students since 1975.  In 2015, the study surveyed over 40,000 students from 400 public and private schools throughout the United States.