New data released by the Minnesota Department of Health shows that fewer Minnesota teenagers are taking part in underage drinking.
Some of the key data points:
- 30 percent of 9th graders age 13 or younger reported drinking alcohol in 2001, compared to just 11 percent in 2016.
- 11th graders reported that being comfortable talking to their parents about drinking were less likely to do so before age 13.
- Youth with alcoholic, or verbally or physically abusive guardians were "significantly more likely to binge drink by consuming five or more drinks on one occasion."
- Racial differences were noted, with blacks and Asians using reporting alcohol use at lower rates than Hispanics, whites and American Indians.
Minnesota Commissioner of Health, Jan Malcolm, said youth drinking can lead to troubles in high school, including "mental health troubles, fights, risky sexual behavior and poor academic achievement."
That said, Malcolm adds that "it's important that kids know that contrary to public belief a majority of high school students don’t drink alcohol.”
Kids are also more likely to binge drink as they get older, although Minnesota's level of youth binge drinkers is lower than the national average.
Nationally, 10 percent of 9th grade students and 22 percent of 11th grade students reported binge drinking. In Minnesota, reports of 9th grade binge drinkers is 5 percent with an increase to 13 percent for 11th graders.
The data was collected from the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey, which was given to 5th, 8th, 9th, and 11th grade students around the state, with a public school participation rate of 85 percent.