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New Survey on Underage Drinking

Despite recent studies (including SAMHSA’s study of underage drinking from 2002-2013) that indicate underage drinking is declining in America, a new national survey of 300 teenagers revealed that teens perceive overwhelmingly that underage drinking has not declined or is even on the rise, making it imperative that parents address this endemic societal issue affecting millions of families:

  • Three out of four teens reported they discuss drinking with parents little or not at all:
    • 26% say not at all
    • 48% say less than once a month
    • Additionally: 20% say only when they are going out to a party
  • Two out of three surveyed said most teen parties include drinking alcohol beverages
  • Half of the teens said underage drinking is increasing.  Of the other half:
    • 40% say it is the same
    • Only 11% say it is decreasing

These findings represent an urgent call to action for parents: “Underage drinking may be declining overall, but it is still a major issue that parents must address frequently and in depth with their teens,” according to Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder, consulting psychologist for TheAlcoholTalk.com, a website that focuses on helping parents talk effectively with their children about drinking.  “This survey underscores that it is crucial for parents to take the initiative and not be complacent.”

Other findings from the online survey, sponsored by Pernod Ricard USA and conducted by Survata*, reinforce the importance of Dr. Powell-Lunder’s message:

  • Binge drinking appears widespread, although studies say it is declining overall among all age groups:
    • 42% of teens surveyed say half or more of teens they know have done it at least once
    • Only 23% say they do not know anyone who has tried binge drinking
    • 67% say binge drinking is not declining among teens
  • “Pre-gaming” (consuming several drinks before a party or event where alcohol will be prohibited) is another form of binge drinking many parents are unaware of:
    • 32% of teens say at least half of the teens they know have done pre-gaming (of those – 18% say most teens they know do it)
    • 38% say they do not know teens who pre-game

Dr. Powell-Lunder has analyzed the survey results, and can discuss not only the issues and risks of underage drinking, but also ways that parents can address the issue without alienating their teens. For more information and/or to schedule an interview, please contact Mona Finston at 646-692-4997 or mfinstonpr@earthlink.net.

*Survata (Survata.com) is an online survey company that partners with third party panels and invites pre-recruited respondents to participate.  Survata insures that the respondents are “census representative” as to gender and geographic distribution.  A total of 301 responses were recorded and tabulated from participants 13-18 years of age during the week of July 5, 2015.

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