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Alcohol is the drug of choice among young people in the United States, and alcohol use constitutes one of the principal public health issues for this population. Approximately 5,000 persons under 21 years of age lose their lives each year as a result of underage drinking, and early initiation of alcohol use is associated with increased risk of subsequent alcohol use disorders and increased risk of involvement in violent behaviors, suicide attempts, and a variety of other problematic activities. In response to this issue, this study presents findings from the 2002 to 2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health (NSDUHs) on the use of alcohol by persons aged 12 to 20.

NSDUH is an annual survey of the civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the United States aged 12 or older. The survey is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and is planned and managed by SAMHSA's Office of Applied Studies (OAS). Data collection is conducted under contract with RTI International, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.1 Selected key findings from this study are described below.

Prevalence of Underage Drinking Behaviors in 2006

Trends in Underage Current and Binge Drinking>

Sociodemographic and Geographic Differences in Underage Drinking

Alcohol Use Disorders among Persons Aged 12 to 20

Association of Underage Drinking with Parental Alcohol Use

Social Context of Last Alcohol Use

Location of Last Alcohol Use

Sources of Alcohol

Underage Drinking and Illicit Drug Use

End Note

1 RTI International is a trade name of Research Triangle Institute.

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This page was last updated on June 19, 2008.