Youth Binge Drinking Is Declining But Less So for Black Adolescents

A new study led by researchers at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan found that the rate of binge drinking among adolescents is dropping. The bad news is that decline in binge drinking among Black youth has not been as significant as it has been for other racial and ethnic groups.

Binge drinking is defined as having five or more drinks in a row at least twice over a two-week period. Researchers examined trends among students in 8th, 10th, and 12th graders in both 1995 and 2015. Overall, they found that binge drinking had declined at all grade levels over the past 20 years.

Megan Patrick, a research associate professor at the Institute for Social Research, said that “Black adolescents have typically been at lower risk for alcohol use, although in recent years the difference appears to be narrowing because frequent binge drinking among White adolescents is decreasing faster than it is among Black adolescents. These results suggest that we should pay more attention to alcohol use among Black adolescents.”

The study, “Frequent Binge Drinking Among US Adolescents, 1991 to 2015,” was published in the June issue of the journal Pediatrics. It may be accessed here.

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