Who's Drinking? More than Half Underage College Students
SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) has examined trends and patterns in the rates of alcohol use by full-time college students age 18 to 20. Data show that between 2002 and 2005 the rates of past-month, binge, and heavy alcohol use are holding steady, but not decreasing.
Based on combined NSDUH data from the 2002 to 2005 surveys, 57.8 percent of full-time college students underage for legal drinking used alcohol in the past month, 40.1 percent engaged in binge drinking, and 16.6 percent engaged in heavy drinking.
For full-time college students age 18 to 20, males were more likely than females to have used alcohol in the past month (60.4 percent vs. 55.6 percent), binge drank (46.9 percent vs. 34.4 percent), or drank heavily (22.7 percent vs. 11.5 percent).
Among full-time college students age 18 to 20, those living with a parent, grandparent, or parent-in-law were less likely to have used alcohol in the past month than those who were not living with a parental relative (51.2 percent vs. 67.0 percent).
Past-Month, Binge, and Heavy Alcohol Use among Full-Time
College Students Age 18 to 20, by Age: 2002-2005
Source: SAMHSA Office of Applied Studies. Results from the 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2005 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health.
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From 2002 to 2005, an average of 5.2 million young adults age 18 to 20 were enrolled full time in college each year. This represents 41.3 percent of young adults in this age range. Full-time college students included an average of 2.8 million women age 18 to 20 (46.0 percent of women in this age group) and 2.4 million men age 18 to 20 years (36.9 percent of men in this age group) each year.
To read the full text of this short report, Underage Alcohol Use among Full-Time College Students, visit www.oas.samhsa.gov/2k6/
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SAMHSA's National Survey on Drug Use and Health asks respondents age 12 or older to report their frequency and quantity of alcohol use during the month before the survey. Results use the following definitions for alcohol consumption:
Binge Alcohol Use. Drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion (i.e., drinks are consumed at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.
Heavy Alcohol Use. Drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days. All heavy alcohol users are also binge alcohol users.
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