UNDERAGE ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION AT LOWEST LEVEL IN 15 YEARS
National Pride Survey: Underage Alcohol Consumption at Lowest Level in 15 Years WASHINGTON, DC, July 18, 2002 – Contrary to assertions by industry critics, a new national survey shows underage drinking has dropped to its lowest level in 15 years. According to the 2001-2002 Pride Survey data released this week at a news conference in Washington, D.C., alcohol consumption reported by students in sixth-12th grade dropped three percent from 52.1 percent to 50.4 percent over the last year. Thomas J. Gleaton, Ed. D., author of the study, called it the “best report on adolescent behaviors in over a decade.” Gleaton attributed the dramatic decrease in alcohol consumption to a renewed focus on family, community, spirituality and nation following the September 11 terrorist attacks as well as an increased effort by teachers and parents to talk to students about the alcohol. “The research on underage drinking and parental influence is very clear,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter H. Cressy. “Study after study has shown that parents are one of the most influential factors over a youth’s decision whether or not to drink alcohol. These survey findings underscore the importance of maintaining an ongoing dialogue with your child about alcohol.” The survey also showed among students in grades 6-12, distilled spirits consumption dropped 7 percent from 35.2 percent to 32.7 percent; beer consumption dropped 6 percent from 39.7 to 37.2; and wine cooler consumption dropped three percent from 39.1 to 37.9. “Too often the facts get lost in sensational headlines served up by industry critics,” said Cressy. “The truth is we have made great strides in reducing underage drinking. Although this continuous downward trend is very encouraging, much more remains to be done.” He added, “From providing parents with tools to talk to their children about alcohol to providing tools for retailers to assist them in stopping illegal purchases by minors, the industry has been and will continue to be an important part of this progress.” The 2001-2002 Pride Survey, a federally-endorsed survey, collected information from 101,882 sixth-12th grade students regarding their reported use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs during the 2001-2002 school year.