Ulster County Data Sets Show Significant Declines in Youth Alcohol Use Over Last Decade
Ulster County has been collecting youth substance use data biannually through the use of student surveys since 2000. Recently the Ulster Prevention Council was asked by the New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services to analyze trends in alcohol use rates based on these data sets
Data analysis found that over the course of the decade (2000-2010) 8th grade lifetime prevalence for alcohol decreased from 46% to 38.4%, and 10th grade lifetime prevalence for alcohol decreased from 71% to 66.9%. Lifetime prevalence tracks the percentage of youth reporting that they have ever had a drink. Over the same time period 8th grade past 30 day prevalence decreased from 22% to 12.8% and 10th grade 30 day prevalence decreased from 45% to 35.9%. Past 30 day prevalence tracks the percentage of youth reporting that they have had at least one drink within the last 30 days.
Survey data sets also show significant declines in binge drinking from 2008 to 2010. 8th grader binge drinking declined from 6.7% to 5.8%, 10th grade binge drinking declined from 19.2% to 17.3%, and 12th grade binge drinking declined from 31.3% to 26.9%. Overall, binge drinking declined from 18.7% to 16.3%. Binge drinking is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks in a row within the last two weeks.
Collecting and sharing this information is vital to planning and assessing prevention efforts in Ulster County, and in advocating for ongoing prevention funding.