a number of serious issues among students, including getting poor grades in high school and experimenting with marijuana and cocaine.
The new SAMHSA report covered nationwide figures and broke them down by region.
“It is so important for us to monitor this type of behavior on a regular basis so we can keep track of whether or not we’re making improvements,” Lipari said. “We collect this data annually and every few years. We’re able to combine the data to be able to provide really robust estimates. We want to create the opportunity for each of the states to see what’s going on within their state.”
When the 2010-2012 state estimates were compared to the 2012-2014 estimates, 18 states showed a significant decrease: California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia, and the District of Columbia. The other 32 states did not show any change.
North Dakota was the state with the highest numbers of underage binge drinking according to the latest report, at 21.42 percent, while Utah was the lowest at just under 11 percent.
Lipari said the information collected is shared with each area to help authorities tackle the issue most effectively. “It is useful for the states to look inside and see where there are areas with higher or lower rates, so they know what is going on at a community level,” she added. “That’s where this information can be used to great effect, to enhance what they’re doing and inform them on where they’re seeing success. We are thrilled to see this information making its way into the hands of people who can really make use of it to drive improvement.”
Public health analyst Robert Vincent is responsible for bringing 15 federal agencies together on a committee for the prevention of underage drinking. The agencies work together on 26 policies aimed at curbing underage binge drinking — from keg registration and drinking age laws to community awareness and prevention programs.
The agencies also strive to implement policies in each state and area, as well as work with establishments and beverage companies and believe that hard work is a key part of the continuous improvement seen.
“In the realm of underage drinking we have had a really concerted effort nationally,” Vincent said. “The reality is that you could look at all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and over time the needle moves on where issues arise in the realm of substance abuse. This research allows you to continuously look at data and identify areas that are problematic.”