Alcohol use among high school students - Georgia, 2007.MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2009; 58(32):885-90MM
Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to an average of approximately 4,700 deaths among underage youths in the United States each year (e.g., from homicides, motor-vehicle crashes, and suicides) and an average of 60 years of life lost per death. Although drinking by underaged persons (<21 years) is illegal in every state, youths aged 12-20 years drink nearly 20% of all the alcohol consumed in the United States. To characterize alcohol consumption by high school students in Georgia, the Georgia Division of Public Health analyzed data from the 2007 Georgia Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). This report summarizes the results of that survey, which indicated that 38% of Georgia high school students reported current alcohol use, and 19% reported binge drinking in the past 30 days. Among students who reported current alcohol use, 44% reported that the usual type of alcohol they consumed was liquor (e.g., bourbon, rum, scotch, vodka, or whiskey), 58% reported that their usual location of alcohol consumption was at another person's home, and 37% reported that their usual source of alcohol was someone giving it to them. These results underscore the need for further research in Georgia and other states on underage drinking behavior, motives, and access to alcohol, which could facilitate development of additional effective intervention strategies. Evidence-based interventions should be sustained and strengthened; these include enforcing the age 21 minimum legal drinking age; increasing alcohol excise taxes; limiting alcohol outlet density; and maintaining existing limits on the days when alcohol can be sold.