How Does Turning 21 Affect Alcohol Use?
You may have seen stories in the media about people who try to consume 21 drinks on their 21st birthdays. But how much of an impact does turning 21 really have on a person’s drinking habits?
A new report from SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) examines alcohol use before and after this landmark birthday.
Rates of past-month and binge alcohol use were higher among young adults who had recently turned 21 than among those who were still 20 years old.
Rates of past-month and binge alcohol use among 21-year-olds declined and then stabilized in the months following their 21st birthdays, but their rates still remained higher than those for 20-year-olds.
Among young adults approaching their 21st birthdays (i.e., people surveyed in the 30 days prior to their 21st birthdays), 86.1 percent had used alcohol in their lifetime, including 62.8 percent who had initiated use before their 18th birthdays.
For more information, download Alcohol Use Before and After the 21st Birthday from SAMHSA’s Office of Applied Studies Web site.