Government Study Shows No Increase in Underage Drinking

The latest Monitoring the Future study reports no significant changes in alcohol consumption among teens in 2017.

Moreover, the study indicates underage drinking rates are still down significantly from the survey’s peak years two decades ago. In releasing the study, its authors noted that, “These are dramatic declines for such a culturally ingrained behavior and good news to many parents.”

Dr. Sam Zakhari, senior vice president of science of the Distilled Spirits Council stated, “Key to further declines is educating parents and other adults about the seriousness of providing alcohol to teens.”


Zakhari noted that, according to government research, most teens obtain alcohol primarily through non-commercial sources such as an unrelated person of legal drinking age or an adult family member.

Monitoring the Future is an ongoing study of the behaviors, attitudes, and values of American secondary school students, college students and young adults. Each year, a total of approximately 50,000 8th-, 10th- and 12th-grade students are surveyed. In addition, annual follow-up questionnaires are mailed to a sample of each graduating class for a number of years after their initial participation.


The Monitoring the Future Study receives funding under a series of investigator-initiated competing research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a part of the National Institutes of Health. MTF is conducted at the Survey Research Center in the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan.

The distilled spirits sector has a important role in addressing underage drinking through the programs of the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility and support for the Federal Trade Commission’s “We don’t Serve Teens” program.


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