Hoosier Teens Still Drinking, But Less

Posted On June 25, 2012

underage(Undated) – While legally they should not be drinking at all, Indiana’s teens are drinking less than they were eight years ago.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released a new study of youth health risks compiled through a survey of 2,855 teenagers. It shows 33.4 percent of Hoosier teens reported having at least one drink of alcohol in the 30 days prior to the survey.


Over 70 percent of teens reported having at least one drink of alcohol during their life. More than 17 percent said they had tried alcohol prior to their 13th birthday.


The number of students that have driven a car while drinking was 5.3 percent in 2011, down from 12.4 percent in 2003. Far more, 21.7 percent, admitted to riding in a car with a driver who had been drinking alcohol – a decrease from 28.3 percent eight years ago.


Indiana students were surveyed about many other topics, including smoking. It appears fewer of the state’s young people are lighting up. In 2003, 60.4 percent of teens said they had tried cigarette smoking. Last year that number fell to 49.5 percent.


About 37 percent of teenagers replied that they had used marijuana one or more times, compared to 43.4 percent in 2003.


While alcohol, smoking and substance abuse behaviors appear to be improving over the past decade, the same cannot be said for other aspects of life for teens. The study found that 18.9 percent of Indiana teens had attempted suicide, up from 6.6 percent in 2003. Over 29 percent of teenagers said they felt sad or hopeless, compared to 25.5 percent in 2003.


Fifty-one percent of respondents said they had sexual intercourse, up from 48.8 percent. Thirteen percent said they did not use any method to prevent pregnancy during their last sexual intercourse.


The full national CDC report, with breakdowns by state, can be found at http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm.