*The following is excerpted from an online article from the USA Today.
Underage drinking and binge drinking rates among young people are on the decline across the USA, a new government study finds.
A report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found underage drinking among all U.S. residents from age 12 through 20 dropped 21%. Underage binge drinking decreased 26.4%.
The survey examined the years 2002 to 2013. In the final year of the study, 22.7% of the nation's young people reported that they had an alcoholic drink in the last 30 days.
"While we're always very happy about these declines, we can't lose sight of the fact that we have approximately 9 million underage drinkers in the country," said Rich Lucey, special assistant to the director at SAMHSA's Center for Substance Abuse.
About 14.2% of underage people reported they had engaged in binge drinking — defined as having five or more drinks on the same occasion — in the last 30 days. That percentage is down from just under 20% in 2002.
The report used data from the National Survey for Drug Use and Health, which measures drinking rates among those 12 and older. The survey found 59.4% of the college age population reported drinking in the last 30 days.
Alcohol also still remains the primary drug used by youth with 22.7% reporting they drink, compared to 16.9% who said they use tobacco and 13.6% who said they use illicit drugs.
Lucey attributed the drop to an increased focus on reducing underage drinking at the federal, state and local levels over the past 10 years.