Forschungsergebnisse / Research

(23.03.04)

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Source:

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Office of Applied Studies

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Verschiedene/Various

Thema:
Theme:

Results from the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health:
National Findings

(For the graphics it is necessary to visit the website.)

3. Alcohol Use


Age
Underage Alcohol Use
Gender
Pregnant Women
Race/Ethnicity
Education
College Students
Employment
Geographic Area
Association with Illicit Drug and Tobacco Use
Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

3. Alcohol Use

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) includes a set of questions asking about the recency and frequency of the consumption of alcoholic beverages, such as beer, wine, whiskey, brandy, and mixed drinks. An extensive list of examples of the kinds of beverages covered is given to respondents prior to the question administration. A "drink" is defined as a can or bottle of beer, a glass of wine or a wine cooler, a shot of liquor, or a mixed drink with liquor in it. Times when the respondent only had a sip or two from a drink are not considered as consumption. For this report, estimates for the prevalence of alcohol use are reported primarily at three levels defined for both males and females and for all ages as follows:

Current use - At least one drink in the past 30 days (includes binge and heavy use).

Binge use - Five or more drinks on the same occasion at least once in the past 30 days (includes heavy use).

Heavy use - Five or more drinks on the same occasion on at least 5 different days in the past 30 days.

A summary of the findings from the 2002 NSDUH alcohol questions is given below:

* About half of Americans aged 12 or older reported being current drinkers of alcohol in the 2002 survey (51.0 percent). This translates to an estimated 120 million people.
* More than one fifth (22.9 percent) of persons aged 12 or older participated in binge drinking at least once in the 30 days prior to the survey. This translates to about 54 million people.
* Heavy drinking was reported by 6.7 percent of the population aged 12 or older, or 15.9 million people.

Age

* The prevalence of current alcohol use increased with increasing age in 2002, from 2.0 percent at age 12 to 6.5 percent at age 13, 13.4 percent at age 14, 19.9 percent at age 15, 29.0 percent at age 16, and 36.2 percent at age 17. The rate reached a peak of 70.9 percent for persons 21 years old.
* Rates of binge alcohol use were 0.8 percent at age 12, 2.8 percent at age 13, 7.0 percent at age 14, 11.6 percent at age 15, 17.9 percent at age 16, and 25.0 percent at age 17. The rate peaked at age 21 (50.2 percent). a peak of 70.9 percent for persons 21 years old.
* The highest prevalence of both binge and heavy drinking in 2002 was for young adults aged 18 to 25, with the peak rate of both measures occurring at age 21 (Figure 3.1). The rate of binge drinking was 40.9 percent for young adults and 50.2 percent at age 21. Heavy alcohol use was reported by 14.9 percent of persons aged 18 to 25 and by 20.1 percent of persons aged 21. Binge and heavy alcohol use rates decreased faster with increasing age than did rates of past month alcohol use. While 58.8 percent of the population aged 45 to 49 in 2002 were current drinkers, 22.5 percent of persons within this age range were binge drinkers and 7.7 percent drank heavily. Binge and heavy drinking were relatively rare among people aged 65 or older, with reported rates of 7.5 and 1.4 percent, respectively.
Figure 3.1 Past Month Alcohol Use, by Age: 2002

Figure 3.1 D

* Among youths aged 12 to 17, an estimated 17.6 percent used alcohol in the month prior to the survey interview. Of all youths, 10.7 percent were binge drinkers, and 2.5 percent were heavy drinkers.

Figure 3.1 Past Month Alcohol Use, by Age: 2002

Figure 3.1 D

* Among youths aged 12 to 17, an estimated 17.6 percent used alcohol in the month prior to the survey interview. Of all youths, 10.7 percent were binge drinkers, and 2.5 percent were heavy drinkers.

Underage Alcohol Use

* About 10.7 million persons aged 12 to 20 reported drinking alcohol in the month prior to the survey interview in 2002 (28.8 percent of this age group). Of these, nearly 7.2 million (19.3 percent) were binge drinkers, and 2.3 million (6.2 percent) were heavy drinkers.
* More males than females aged 12 to 20 reported binge drinking in 2002 (21.8 vs. 16.7 percent).
* Among persons aged 12 to 20, past month alcohol use rates in 2002 ranged from 15.5 percent for Asians and 19.3 percent among blacks to 32.8 percent for whites (Figure 3.2). Binge drinking was reported by 22.7 percent of underage whites, 22.6 percent of underage American Indians or Alaska Natives, and 16.8 percent of underage Hispanics, but only by 8.6 percent of underage Asians and 9.8 percent of underage blacks.

Figure 3.2 Past Month Alcohol Use among Persons Aged 12 to 20, by Race/Ethnicity: 2002

Figure 3.2 D

* Across geographic divisions in 2002, underage current alcohol use rates ranged from 24.2 percent in the Pacific division and 26.4 percent in the East South Central division to 33.9 percent in New England.
* In 2002, underage current alcohol use rates were similar by population density. Rates were 27.2 percent in large metropolitan areas, 30.7 percent in small metropolitan areas, and 29.6 percent in nonmetropolitan areas. The rate in nonmetropolitan rural areas was 26.0 percent.

Gender

* Except among youths aged 12 to 17, males were more likely than females to report past month alcohol drinking. In 2002, 57.4 percent of males aged 12 or older were current drinkers compared with 44.9 percent of females.
* For the youngest age group (12 to 17), males and females had comparable rates of current alcohol use in 2002 (17.4 percent of males and 17.9 percent of females).

Pregnant Women

* Among pregnant women aged 15 to 44 in 2002, 9.1 percent used alcohol and 3.1 percent reported binge drinking in the month prior to the survey. These rates were significantly lower than the rates for nonpregnant women of that age (53.4 and 23.4 percent, respectively). Heavy alcohol use was relatively rare (0.7 percent) among pregnant women.

Race/Ethnicity

* Whites were more likely than any other racial/ethnic group to report current use of alcohol in 2002. An estimated 55.0 percent of whites reported past month use. The next highest rate was for persons reporting two or more races (49.9 percent). The lowest current drinking rate was observed for Asians (37.1 percent). The rates were 39.9 percent for blacks, 44.7 percent for American Indians/Alaska Natives, and 42.8 percent for Hispanics.
* The rate of binge alcohol use was lowest among Asians (12.4 percent). Rates for other racial/ethnic groups were 21.0 percent for blacks, 23.4 percent for whites, 24.8 percent for Hispanics, 25.2 percent for Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders, and 27.9 percent for American Indians/Alaska Natives.
* Among youths aged 12 to 17 in 2002, blacks and Asians were least likely to report past month alcohol use. Only 7.4 percent of Asian youths and 10.9 percent of black youths were current drinkers, while rates were above 15 percent for other racial/ethnic groups.

Education

* The rate of past month alcohol use increased with increasing levels of education. Among adults aged 18 or older with less than a high school education, 37.8 percent were current drinkers in 2002, while 67.4 percent of college graduates were current drinkers. However, binge drinking and heavy drinking were least prevalent among college graduates.

College Students

* Young adults aged 18 to 22 enrolled full time in college were more likely than their peers not enrolled full time (this category includes part-time college students and persons not enrolled in college) to use alcohol, binge drink, and drink heavily in 2002. Past month alcohol use was reported by 64.1 percent of full-time college students compared with 54.3 percent of persons 18 to 22 who were not currently enrolled full time. Binge and heavy use rates for college students were 44.4 and 18.8 percent, respectively, compared with 38.9 and 13.4 percent, respectively, for other persons aged 18 to 22.
* Among persons aged 18 to 22, full-time college students were more likely to be heavy drinkers than others (18.8 and 13.4 percent, respectively). However, at later ages (26 or older), those who had attended college were less likely to drink heavily than those who had not attended college (5.2 and 6.7 percent, respectively) (Figure 3.3).

Figure 3.3 Heavy Alcohol Use, by College Attendance and Age: 2002

Figure 3.3 D

Employment

* Rates of current alcohol use were 61.8 percent for full-time employed adults aged 18 or older in 2002 compared with 57.9 percent of their unemployed peers. However, the patterns were different for binge and heavy alcohol use; rates were higher for unemployed persons (34.7 and 13.3 percent, respectively, for binge and heavy use) than for full-time employed persons (29.0 and 8.4 percent, respectively).

* Most binge and heavy alcohol users were employed. Among the 51.1 million adult binge drinkers in 2002, 40.8 million (80 percent) were employed either full or part time. Similarly, 12 million (79 percent) of the 15.2 million adult heavy drinkers were employed.

Geographic Area

* The rate of past month alcohol use for people aged 12 or older in 2002 was lowest in the East South Central division (36.7 percent) and highest in New England (57.2 percent).
* Among people aged 12 or older, the rate of alcohol use in 2002 in large metropolitan areas was 54.0 percent compared with 51.3 percent in small metropolitan areas and 42.9 percent in nonmetropolitan areas. There was less variation across county types in rates of binge and heavy drinking. The rate of heavy alcohol use was 6.3 percent in large metropolitan areas, 7.9 percent in small metropolitan areas, and 6.1 percent in nonmetropolitan areas.
* Among youths aged 12 to 17, the rate of past month binge alcohol use was slightly higher in nonmetropolitan areas (12.6 percent) than in large or small metropolitan areas (10.1 and 10.3 percent, respectively). In rural nonmetropolitan areas, 14.2 percent of youths reported binge drinking.

Association with Illicit Drug and Tobacco Use

* The level of alcohol use was strongly associated with illicit drug use in 2002. Among the 15.9 million heavy drinkers aged 12 or older, 32.6 percent were current illicit drug users. For binge drinkers who were not heavy drinkers, 16.6 percent reported past month illicit drug use. Other drinkers (i.e., past month alcohol use but not binge drinking) had a rate of 5.8 percent for current illicit drug use, and persons who did not use alcohol in the past month were least likely to use illicit drugs (3.6 percent).
* Drinking levels also were associated with tobacco use. Among heavy alcohol users, 61.3 percent smoked cigarettes in the past month, while only 21.8 percent of non-binge current drinkers and 17.7 percent of nondrinkers were current smokers. Smokeless tobacco and cigar use also were more prevalent among heavy drinkers than among non-binge drinkers and nondrinkers.

Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol

* About 1 in 7 Americans aged 12 or older in 2002 (14.2 percent, or 33.5 million persons) drove under the influence of alcohol at least once in the 12 months prior to the interview.
* Males were nearly twice as likely as females (18.8 vs. 9.9 percent, respectively) to have driven under the influence of alcohol.
* More than 1 in 4 (26.6 percent) young adults aged 18 to 25 reported driving under the influence of alcohol at least once in the prior year.

 

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