Binge Drinking 5+ Drinks Common in High School Seniors

(HealthDay News) – One in five U.S. high school seniors report binge drinking at the traditionally defined 5+ drinking level in the past two weeks, according to a study published online Sept. 16 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Megan E. Patrick, PhD, from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues analyzed data from 16,332 high school seniors (modal age, 18 years) participating in the annual Monitoring the Future study (between 2005 and 2011). Response rates were 79.1–84.7%.

The researchers found that, over the study period, 20.2% of high school seniors reported 5+ binge drinking, 10.5% reported 10+ extreme binge drinking, and 5.6% reported 15+ extreme binge drinking in the last two weeks. Since 2005, rates of 5+ binge drinking and 10+ extreme binge drinking declined, but rates of 15+ extreme binge drinking did not significantly decline. Compared to students from large metropolitan areas, students from more rural areas were more likely to consume ≥15 drinks. All three levels of binge and extreme binge drinking were predicted by substance-related attitudes, socializing with substance-using peers, the number of evenings out with friends, and other substance use (cigarettes and marijuana).

“Binge drinking at the traditionally defined 5+ drinking level was common among high school seniors representative of all 12th graders in the contiguous United States,” the authors write.

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