Teens Favor Hard Alcohol, Study Shows

Published: August 8, 2007

ATLANTA – Unlike their beer-drinking adult counterparts, today’s teenagers would rather get drunk off shots of hard liquor than a six pack, according to research released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) last week.

Of 14,000 adult binge drinkers surveyed, 75 percent drank mainly or exclusively beer. Only 17 percent preferred liquor and a scant 9 percent drank wine.  Meanwhile teens in Arkansas, New Mexico and Wyoming consistently preferred liquor over beer, with liquor accounting for 49 percent of binge drinks in Arkansas. The two beverages were tied neck-in-neck in Nebraska.

Experts believe government propaganda and ease of access may be responsible for the generation gap. For the most part, the government and the media have emphasized the dangers of liquor, making beer less expensive. Furthermore, adults can walk into any gas station or grocery store with their legal IDs and purchase a six-pack. Teenagers generally get their alcohol from home, and raiding the liquor cabinet is often less conspicuous than raiding the fridge.

The study defined a binge drinker as a person who had five or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion in the past 30 days. About 15 percent of U.S. adults fall into that category, and most of them are men.

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The CDC published the study on adult bingers in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on July 31. The study of teen drinkers appeared in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

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