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Prevent the harmful use of alcohol across the lifespan

% of people age 12 to 20 who reported binge drinking in the past month

Current Value




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Story Behind the Curve

Updated: January 2024

Author: Division of Substance Use Programs, Vermont Department of Health

This indicator, or population measure, is part of our Healthy Vermonters 2030 data set. Read more about how this data helps us understand and improve the well-being of people in Vermont on the Healthy Vermonters 2030 webpage.

Because this data is meant to show how the health of our state changes during the decade from 2020-2030, some indicators may have very few data points for now. Keep checking back to see the progress our public health system and partners are making.

We would like to see the percent of people under age 20 who engage in binge drinking to decrease to 14% or lower by 2030.

Alcohol is the most used substance by Vermonters and a risky behavior that is associated with disease, injury, and other unsafe behaviors. Addressing risky behaviors, and the social and institutional inequities that lead to them help us to improve the health of all Vermonters.  National data shows that Vermonters in all age groups - youth (12-17), young adults (18-25), and adults (26+) - drink alcohol at higher rates compared to the country overall.

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Why Is This Important?

The percent of people binge drinking who are under age 21 in Vermont is significantly higher than the national average (15% vs 8% in 2022). As another comparison, the percent of people binge drinking who are under 21 is nearly the same as that of people over the legal age of 21 (18% in 2022).

Binge drinking significantly increases by grade throughout high school. (Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey).

People who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at 21.

Equity and Impact

Binge drinking is common, especially among males, persons aged 18-34, whites, and those with annual household incomes less than or equal to $50,000.

How We Can Improve

A comprehensive approach using multiple evidence-based programs, practices, and policies such as those listed in the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) or recommended by The Community Guide. These include programs serving youth and families, as well as community-wide strategies such as media advocacy and community education.

Notes on Methodology

Binge Alcohol Use is defined as drinking five or more drinks (for males) or four or more drinks (for females) on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is conducted annually by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

NSDUH provides nationally representative data on the use of tobacco, alcohol, and illicit drugs; substance use disorders; receipt of substance use treatment; mental health issues; and the use of mental health services among the civilian, noninstitutionalized population aged 12 or older in the United States. NSDUH estimates allow researchers, clinicians, policymakers, and the general public to better understand and improve the nation’s behavioral health.

The data for this indicator combines 2 years. Data prior to 2021 is not comparable to later data.

Clear Impact Suite is an easy-to-use, web-based software platform that helps your staff collaborate with external stakeholders and community partners by utilizing the combination of data collection, performance reporting, and program planning.

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