Teen alcohol use is down, but plenty are still drinking

Nearly 43 percent of 12 graders have been drunk

(CNN/Gray News) – Youth drinking is down in the United States, but doctors say parents and others must still reinforce the message about the dangers of alcohol use.

The study published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) surveyed eighth, 10th and 12th graders.

The 2018 data shows that by the end of 12th grade, 59 percent of students had “consumed more than a few sips” of alcohol, and 42.9 percent of 12th graders “reported having been drunk at least once in their life.”

“Overall alcohol use had been in decline for several years until 2017, when there were no significant changes found in any prevalence measures in any grade, but in 2018, the trend of declining rates resumed,” the report said.

The AAP says continuing to send a message to teens about the dangers of drinking alcohol, including drunken driving, can help the trend to continue.

Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death for youth 16 to 20 years of age, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said. In 2016, 39 percent of alcohol-impaired drivers involved in fatal motor vehicle collisions were 16 to 24 years of age.

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