New York Teen Drinking Decline; Alcohol-Related Problems Reduced

Article excerpt

The Research Institute on Additictions (RIA) is reporting a significant decline in the use of alcohol and in the number alcohol-related problems in New York between 1983 and 1990, according to the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS).

The findings, reported in the Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research (vol. 17, no. 4), showed that drinking, heavy drinking and alcohol-related problems decreased among students in grades seven through twelve. The decline occurred across the board in both sexes and in every age and racial-ethnic group.

The study was conducted by research scientists Grace M. Barnes,. Ph.D., John W. Welte, Ph.D., and Barbara A. Dintcheff of the Research Institute on Addictions, based in Buffalo, NY. They surveyed some 27,000 students in 1983 and another 24,000 students in 1990. these samples, drawn from more than 200 school districts across the state, were statistically representative of New York's seventh through twelfth graders.

The researchers reported that when students were asked if they drank any alcohol in the previous year, 71% of them said "yes' in 1983. In the recent study, the number dipped to 60%.

Heavy drinking is defined as drinking at least once a week and consuming five or more alcoholic beverages at one sitting. In 1983, 13% of students drank heavily. In 1990, that dropped by 4% to 9%. That breaks dowmn to 18% of the boys and 8% of the girls reporting heavy drinking in the 1983 study, compared with 12% of the boys and 5% of the girls in the 1990 survey. …

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