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Youth and Alcohol: A National Survey: Drinking Habits, Access, Attitudes, and Knowledge

NCJ Number
R P Kusserow
Date Published
26 pages
Structured interviews with a random national sample of 956 students in grades 7 through 12 were conducted in March and April 1991 to gather information on how youth in these grades obtain, regard, and consume alcohol.
Results revealed that 51 percent of the students have had at least one drink within the past year. Eight million of the country's 20.7 million 7th through 12th graders drink alcohol weekly. Junior and senior high school students drink 35 percent of all wine coolers sold in the United States, as well as 1.1 billion cans of beer each year. More than 5 million students have binged; 454,000 binge at least once a week. More than 3 million students drink alone, more than 4 million drink when they are upset, and less than 3 million drink because they are bored. Students also lack essential knowledge about alcohol and its effects. Nine million students obtain their information about alcohol from unreliable sources. Seven million students are able to walk into a store and buy alcohol. Students also accept rides from friends who have been drinking. Sources of influence on students' attitudes about alcohol include parents, friends, and alcoholic beverage advertisements. Findings indicated the need for the Surgeon General to consult and collaborate with public and private agencies to improve educational programs about alcohol, reduce the appeal of alcoholic beverage advertising to youth, and emphasize the need for law enforcement efforts to prevent youth from illegally purchasing alcohol. Figures, footnotes, appended methodological information and results, and 31 references