Prevent and reduce the negative impacts of alcohol and drug misuse and 4 more...less...

Vermonters are healthy

Vermonters are healthy

Vermonters are healthy


% of adults age 18-24 binge drinking in the last 30 days


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Story Behind the Curve

Updated:  Jan 2020

According to the 2019 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BFRSS), 27% of young adults 18-24 engaged in an episode of binge drinking, defined as five or more drinks in one occasion for men and four or more for woman.  Alcohol use among Vermont adults (18+) is statistically higher than the US.   While we don’t have comparable national information from the BRFSS, according to the 2017/18 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) results, Vermonters aged 18-25 have amongst the highest rates of binge drinking of any US state.  

In addition to the NSDUH results, the 2018 Young Adult Survey (YAS) was conducted in Vermont by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) as part of a statewide evaluation of a federally funded grant, called the Regional Prevention Partnerships (RPP).  The target population for this online survey was Vermont residents aged 18 to 25.  State estimates for key measures align closely with those obtained from NSDUH. 

The 2018 YAS results reported the rate of prevalence of any binge drinking in the past 30-days for youth ages 18-20 was 44%, and 56% for young adults ages 21-25.  While the rate of binge drinking 20 or more days in a 30-day period is at a low of 3%, the rates of those who binge drank 6-10 days in a 30-day period is 13% for people aged 18-20 and 16% for those aged 21-25.  College students are more likely to binge drink in the past 30 days than young adults who do not attend college (61% vs 37%).  However, the rates of binge drinking 20 or more days in the 30-days is at 1% for full-time college students and 6% for all other youth adults.

The Vermont Department of Health supports college age youth through community-based, environmental and individual prevention programs aimed at reduction of binge drinking, marijuana and substance use, early intervention and prevention through our work with the colleges across the state through the College Symposium. Participation from colleges across the state around common concerns and challenges many colleges are experiencing. Every other month, we are meeting with colleges across the state to talk about their substance use interventions and assessments to coordinate a better system of care and institute best practices for assessing substance use.   In addition to our work with colleges, VDH also supports environmental and individual prevention strategies and programs through our Regional Prevention Partnerships (RPP) statewide grants, ADAP’s Prevention Consultant program and statewide media campaigns.

What Works

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 individuals, as well as community-wide strategies such as media advocacy and community education.

There is research that indicates policy changes, such as increased taxes on alcohol products, decreases use.

Why Is This Important?
Notes on Methodology

Binge Drinking is defined differently for males and females:

  • Males: 5 or more drinks on one occasion
  • Females: 4 or more drinks on one occasion

This indicator is age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. standard population. In U.S. data, age adjustment is used for comparison of regions with varying age breakdowns. In order to remain consistent with the methods of comparison at a national level, some statistics in Vermont were age adjusted. In cases where age adjustment was noted as being part of the statistical analysis, the estimates were adjusted based on the proportional age breakdowns of the U.S. population in 2000. For more detailed information on age adjustment visit /

Due to BRFSS weighting methodology changes beginning in 2011, comparisons between data collected in 2011 and later and that from 2010 and earlier should be made with caution. Differences between data from 2011 forward and earlier years may be due to methodological changes, rather than changes in opinion or behavior.

Scorecard Result Container Indicator Measure Action Actual Value Target Value Tag S R I P PM A m/d/yy m/d/yyyy