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Statistics

This page contains links to the most recent underage drinking statistics provided by the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking agencies. The data provide information on the prevalence, trends, and consequences of underage drinking. In addition to these, different agencies provide related statistics that highlight different health and societal aspects of underage drinking.

Overview

Facts on Underage Drinking (PDF 583KB)
This fact sheet summarizes current data about underage drinking overall and by gender, race/ethnicity, and age group. It also provides information on health and safety risks associated with underage alcohol use. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, October 2013).

Prevalence

National Surveys

Monitoring the Future
Since 1975, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has sponsored the annual Monitoring the Future Survey, which measures drug, alcohol, and cigarette use and related attitudes among adolescent students nationwide. Survey participants report their drug use behaviors across three time periods: lifetime, past year, and past month.

National Survey on Drug Use and Health
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides national and State-level data on the use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs (including nonmedical use of prescription drugs) and mental health in the United States. This annual survey is supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and is the primary source of information on prevalence, patterns, and consequences in the general U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population, ages 12 and older. Data and findings are reported in a full survey report as well as in numerous special short reports related to underage drinking.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) monitors priority health-risk behaviors and the prevalence of obesity and asthma among youth and young adults. The YRBSS includes the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a national school-based survey of 9th- to 12th-grade students that is conducted every 2 years to record the prevalence and trend of behaviors—such as underage drinking—that place a young person’s health at risk. Behaviors that contribute to injuries, such as driving after consumption of alcohol, also are reported.

Local Data

Youth Online
Youth Online, a service of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lets you analyze national, State, and local Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System data from 1991 to 2009. Data from high school and middle school surveys are included. You can filter and sort on the basis of race/ethnicity, sex, grade, or site; create customized tables and graphs; and perform statistical tests by site and health topic, including “Alcohol and Other Drug Use.”

Special Populations

Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors Among Active Duty Military Personnel: 2008 Survey Summary as Q&A
This report from the Military Health System summarizes the results of a periodically conducted survey of active-duty military personnel to assess substance abuse, mental well-being, deployment issues, fitness, nutrition, and weight management. (Military Health System, U.S. Department of Defense; 2009)

Trends

Trends in the Prevalence of Alcohol Use
This chart from the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey shows the prevalence of alcohol use by students in grades 9 to 12 from 1991–2009.

Trends in the Prevalence of Behaviors that Contribute to Unintentional Injury
This chart from the 2009 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey of students in grades 9 to 12 shows the prevalence of behaviors, such as drinking and driving or being in a car with someone who has been drinking, that contribute to unintentional injuries. Trend data are reported for 1991–2009.

Consequences

Impact on Campuses

A Snapshot of Annual High-Risk College Drinking Consequences
This snapshot of annual high-risk college drinking consequences includes a concise list of facts outlining the effects of alcohol abuse on college campuses, communities, and students. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; updated 2010)

Impact on Emergency Departments

States and Cities—Brief Reports
This series of Metro Briefs provides detailed statistical snapshots of drug-related visits to hospital emergency departments occurring in 11 metropolitan areas across the Nation. Each brief provides a range of information about the nature and scope of drug-related admissions, including those from underage drinking, through a variety of charts, graphs, and accompanying text. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2011)

The DAWN Report: Emergency Department Visits Involving Underage Alcohol Use in Combination With Other Drugs
This brief report highlights the strong relationship between the use of alcohol and other drugs among young people involved in an emergency department visit. Of the estimated 188,981 alcohol-related emergency department visits made by patients aged 12 to 20 in 2008, 70.0 percent involved alcohol only, and 30.0 percent involved alcohol in combination with other drugs. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; January 2011)

The DAWN Report: Emergency Department Visits Involving Underage Alcohol Use: 2008
This brief report summarizes the role of underage drinking in emergency department (ED) visits. Among the findings in this report is that, in 2008, an estimated 188,981 alcohol-related ED visits were made by patients aged 12 to 20, accounting for about one third of all drug-related ED visits (32.9 percent) made by this age group. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; July 2010)

Impact on Law Enforcement

Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center: Underage Drinking Costs
The Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center was established by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to support its Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program. This page presents the costs associated with underage drinking for the United States as a whole and for individual States.

Easy Access to FBI Arrest Statistics
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention provides a database of arrest statistics for 1994–2007, by offense, and for adults, juveniles, or all ages. Arrest statistics for youth aged 10 to 17 include driving under the influence, liquor laws, and drunkenness. (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice; no date)

Impact on Transportation Safety

Traffic Safety Facts: Alcohol-Impaired Driving: Fatal Crashes and Fatalities Involving Alcohol-Impaired Drivers
This factsheet, using 2008 data, summarizes alcohol-related fatalities, including those in which drivers were aged 16 to 20 years old. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, U.S. Department of Transportation; no date)

Related Statistics

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on Underage Drinking
Often called “the voice of CDC,” the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) series is CDC’s primary vehicle for scientific publication of timely, accurate, and objective public health information and recommendations. The data in the weekly MMWR are provisional, based on weekly reports to CDC by State health departments. Recent MMWRs related to underage drinking include:

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Alcohol Alerts
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Alcohol Alert is a quarterly bulletin that disseminates important research findings on a single aspect of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Reports related to underage drinking include:

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, NSDUH Reports on Underage Drinking
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is the primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and abuse in the general U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population, ages 12 and older. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration periodically publishes The NSDUH Report, which presents special topics based on NSDUH data. Reports related to underage drinking include: