Skip Navigation

Substance Abuse

Latest Data

Where We’ve Been and Where We’re Going

Binge Drinking in Adults
Since tracking for Healthy People 2020 began, the percentage of adults age 18 and over who engaged in binge drinking in the past month decreased only slightly, from 27.1 percent in 2008 to 26.7 percent in 2011, a change that was not statistically significant. Binge drinking by adults varies by sex, age, race and ethnicity, educational attainment, country of birth, marital status, and veteran status.

Alcohol and Illicit Drug Use in Adolescents
Over the past decade, the percentage of adolescents age 12 to 17 who used alcohol or illicit drugs in the past 30 days decreased by 18.9 percent from 22.2 percent in 2002 to 18.0 percent in 2011. Past-month use of alcohol or illicit drugs by adolescents varies by age, race and ethnicity, and country of birth.

Stopping substance abuse before it begins can increase a person’s chances of living a longer, healthier, and more productive life.

Leading Health Indicators

Explore the latest data and disparities for each indicator.
Adolescents using alcohol or any illicit drugs during the past 30 days (SA-13.1)
Adults engaging in binge drinking during the past 30 days (SA-14.3)

Adolescents using alcohol or any illicit drugs during the past 30 days (SA-13.1)

  • Healthy People 2020 objective SA-13.1 is one of the Leading Health Indicators for Substance Abuse and tracks the proportion of adolescents aged 12 to 17 who reported using alcohol or illicit drugs in the past 30 days.
    • HP2020 Baseline: In 2008, 18.4% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 years reported use of alcohol or any illicit drugs during the past 30 days.
    • HP2020 Target: 16.6%, a 10 percent improvement over the baseline.
  • Among age groups, the youngest adolescents (12 - 13 years) had the lowest rate of alcohol or illicit drug use, 5.1%, in 2011. Rates for the other age groups generally increase with age:
    • 16.0% of adolescents aged 14 to 15 years reported using alcohol or illicit drugs during the past 30 days, more than three times the rate for adolescents aged 12 to 13 years.
    • 31.8% of adolescents aged 16 to 17 years reported using alcohol or illicit drugs during the past 30 days, more than six times the rate for adolescents aged 12 to 13 years.
  • Among racial and ethnic groups, Asian adolescents aged 12 to 17 years reported the lowest rate of alcohol or illicit drug use, 10.3% in 2011. Rates for adolescents in other racial and ethnic groups were:
    • 17.2% for black, non-Hispanic adolescents.
    • 17.9% for Hispanic adolescents.
    • 18.4% for white, non-Hispanic adolescents.
    • 20.2% for American Indian or Alaska Native adolescents.
    • 25.1% for adolescents who identify with 2 or more races.
  • Adolescents born outside the US reported a lower rate of alcohol or illicit drug use (13.7%) than adolescents born in the US (18.3%) in 2011. The rate for adolescents born in the US was nearly one and half times the rate for adolescents born outside the US.

Endnotes:

  • Unless noted otherwise, all disparities described are statistically significant at the 0.05 level of significance.
  • Data are for adolescents aged 12 to 17 years who reported using at least one of the following substances in the past 30 days: alcohol, marijuana or hashish, cocaine (including "crack"), inhalants, hallucinogens (including PCP and LSD), heroin, or any nonmedical use of analgesics, tranquilizers, stimulants, or sedatives.
  • The terms “Hispanic or Latino” and “Hispanic” are used interchangeably in this report.
  • Data for this objective are available annually and come from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Back to Top

Adults engaging in binge drinking during the past 30 days (SA-14.3)

  • Healthy People 2020 objective SA-14.3 is one of the Leading Health Indicators for Substance Abuse and tracks the proportion of adults aged 18 years and over who engaged in binge drinking in the past 30 days.
    • HP2020 Baseline: In 2008, 27.1% of adults aged 18 years and older reported that they engaged in binge drinking during the past 30 days.
    • HP2020 Target: 24.4%, a 10 percent improvement over the baseline.
  • Females had a lower rate of binge drinking (21.4%) compared to males (32.5%) in 2011.
  • Among age groups, adults aged 65 years and over had the lowest rate of binge drinking, 9.8%, in 2011. Rates for the other age groups were:
    • 21.8% among adults aged 45–64 years, and
    • 36.6% among adults aged 18–44 years.
  • Among racial and ethnic groups, Asian adults had the lowest rate of binge drinking, 14.1% in 2011. Rates for adults in other racial and ethnic groups were:
    • 22.8% for black, non-Hispanic adults.
    • 24.5% for adults who identify with 2 or more races.
    • 28.0% for white, non-Hispanic adults.
    • 28.4% for Hispanic adults.
    • 28.8% for American Indian or Alaska Native adults.
  • Among education groups, adults aged 25 years and over with an advanced degree had the lowest rate of binge drinking, 20.0%, in 2011. Rates for adults 25 years and over in other education groups were:
    • 1.9% among adults with less than a high school education.
    • 25.7% among adults with a high school education.
    • 25.8% among adults with some college education.
    • 26.7% among adults with a 4-year college degree.
  • Adults born outside the US had a lower rate of binge drinking (19.5%) than adults born in the US (28.1%) in 2011. The rate for adults born in the US was almost one and a half times the rate for adults born outside the US.
  • When assessed by current marital status, adults who were widowed had the lowest rate of binge drinking, 9.6%, in 2011. Rates for the other marital groups were:
    • 22.5% for married adults, almost two and a half times the rate for widowed adults.
    • 25.5% for divorced or separated adults, more than two and a half times the rate for widowed adults.
    • 39.7% for adults who have never been married, more than four times the rate for widowed adults.
  • Veterans had a lower rate of binge drinking (22.5%) compared to non-veterans (27.2%) in 2011.

Endnotes:

  • Unless noted otherwise, all disparities described are statistically significant at the 0.05 level of significance.
  • Data are for adults aged 18 years and older who report having five or more drinks (for men) or four or more drinks (for women) at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other during the past 30 days.
  • The terms “Hispanic or Latino” and “Hispanic” are used interchangeably in this report.
  • Data for this objective are available annually and come from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

Back to Top