Alcohol Prevalence

Consider the following, in the United States in the year 2000 alone, 537,000 preventable deaths resulted from tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drug use, Americans comprise 4% of the world’s population but consume 2/3 of the world’s illicit drugs, almost ¼ of U.S college students meet clinical criteria for substance abuse and addiction, and every American child will be offered illegal drugs at least once before graduating from high school.

Adolescents drink…a lot. Did you know…?

Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among adolescents and is responsible for more mortality and morbidity in this age group than all other drugs combined.

  • By 12th grade, 80% of high school seniors report having used alcohol, 62% report having gotten drunk, and 31% report heavy episodic use.
  • 9th grade girls drink as frequently as boys. 36.2% girls and 36.3% boys reported drinking in the past month.17.3% girls and 20.7% boys reported binge drinking.
  • Rates of drinking differ among racial and ethnic minority groups. Among students in grades 9 to 12, binge drinking is reported by 29.9% of non-Hispanic white students, 11.1% of African American students, and 25.3% of Hispanic students.

Prevalence of Alcohol Use and Abuse Among Adolescents

Adolescent Drinking Behaviors
Percent lifetime reporting. Data Source: Monitoring the Future (University of Michigan).

Pregnant Women Are At-Risk. Did you know…?

Among pregnant women aged 15 to 44…

  • An estimated 10.0 percent reported current alcohol use, 4.4 percent reported binge drinking, and 0.8 percent reported heavy drinking. Binge drinking during the first trimester of pregnancy was reported by 11.9 percent of pregnant women aged 15 to 44.
  • 4.5 percent used illicit drugs in the past month with a similar percentage reporting current drug use. This is down from the 10.6% in general female population yet remains wholly unacceptable. Among pregnant women aged 15 to 17, the rate of illicit drug use jumps to 13.0 percent
  • The rate of past month cigarette use among those who were pregnant (15.3 percent) is lower than it was among those who were not pregnant (27.4 percent). However, among those aged 15 to 17, the rate of cigarette smoking was higher for pregnant women than non-pregnant women (20.6 vs. 13.9 percent).

All of these remain unacceptably high.

Prevalence of Alcohol Use and Abuse (Age 12+)

Prevalence of Alcohol Use and Abuse (Age 12+)
SAMHSA, 2005