Teen Binge Drinking

Teen binge drinking declined by a third from 2004 to 2016.

In a survey of Washington public school students, 8th, 10th, and 12th graders were asked about how many times in the past two weeks they had had 5 or more drinks in a row. Drinking excessively is also known as binge drinking. Combining responses from 2014 and 2016, 11% of students in King County reported binge drinking in the past two weeks.  

  • Trends: Teen binge drinking decreased by a third from 2004 to 2016, from 15% to 10%. This trend was consistent for students of all races and ethnicities and in all regions of King County. Most of the decline happened between 2010 and 2016.

  • Grade level: Students in higher grades were more likely to report binge drinking, increasing from 3% of 8thgraders to 18% of 12th graders – a 6-fold increase.

  • Race and ethnicity: Hispanic/Latino students were more likely to report binge drinking than the King County average at 14%. Asian students were less likely, at 5%.

  • Sexual orientation: 17% of students who identified as lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) reported binge drinking in 2016, higher than for students in King County overall.

There were no significant differences across genders or regions.


Notes & Sources

Source: Healthy Youth Survey (HYS)

Numerator: 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students who responded more than “0 times” to the question "Think back over the last 2 weeks. How many times have you had five or more drinks in a row? (A drink is a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, a shot glass of liquor, or a mixed drink.)”

Denominator: All students who answered the question.

Every 2 years, Washington public school students in 6th, 8th, 10th, and 12th grades answer questions about safety and violence, physical activity and diet, alcohol, tobacco and other drug use, and related risk and protective factors. To learn more about the survey, please go to https://www.doh.wa.gov/DataandStatisticalReports/DataSystems/HealthyYouthSurvey.


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