In a study recently published in the Journal of Child & Adolescent Substance Abuse, researchers say about 32% of 7th and 8th graders reported having at least one drink and 21.5% report current drinking (within the past 30 days). Current drinkers indicated that they had their first drink was at 10 to 11 years old on average.
A total of 5.7% of 7th-graders and 12.4% of 8th-graders reported binge drinking (5+ drinks per occasion) the past 30 days, the study says. Middle school students most frequently drank with 3 to 4 teens, in their home or at a friend’s home.
“While four out of five students were nondrinkers or had limited experience with alcohol, almost one-tenth of the sample had more significant alcohol engagement associated with substantially higher rates of alcohol-related problems (i.e., hazardous and problematic drinkers) and had the earliest age of first drink (around age 9.5 years).”
The study was based on the results of a survey of 1,171 -students in 4 middle schools in San Diego County.
“Middle School Drinking: Who, Where, and When” by Kristen Anderson and Sandra Brown, Journal of Child and Adolescent Substance Abuse, Volume 20, pps. 48-62, 2011.