‘Everybody Is Down To Not Drink.’ Why Young People Are Drinking Less Alcohol

By Aneri Pattani
The Philadelphia Inquirer

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Despite numerous reports of Greek life gone wild and alcohol-involved sexual assault: Young people in the United States are consuming less alcohol. According to the Monitoring the Future Study, an annual national survey of 50,000 adolescents and young adults in America, alcohol use has dropped steeply since the 1990s.

PHILADELPHIA

On her 21st birthday, Rabbah Johnson experienced a first: not a legal cocktail, but a roller coaster ride at Six Flags.

She’d never been on one before and knew she wanted to change that. The incoming junior at Temple University had never had alcohol, either, but that didn’t concern her much.

“It’s something I never did, and I’m perfectly fine with it,” she said.

Her attitude reflects a decadeslong trend that may seem surprising amid reports of Greek life gone wild and alcohol-involved sexual assault: Young people in the United States are consuming less alcohol.

According to the Monitoring the Future Study, an annual national survey of 50,000 adolescents and young adults in America, alcohol use has dropped steeply since the 1990s.

That’s not to say everyone is going sober. Alcohol is still a large part of American culture, from happy hour after work to frat parties on college campuses, and so are the tragedies that can result.

But researchers have found that young people today are throwing back fewer drinks than their counterparts 10 or 15 years ago.

The decline is most significant in teens, but also present among adults in their 20s. The same trend has been recorded in Australia, the U.K., and several European countries.

Some see the trend as another example of millennial disruption. First, the generation, young adults in their 20s and 30s, killed cable TV, then it was cars, and now alcohol.

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