You’ve probably heard it before — today’s kids are way worse than they used to be. This may be true in some areas, but according to data from multiple sources, teens are drinking less today than their counterparts from previous generations. The numbers surrounding drug use are a little more shaky with reputable organizations reporting contradictory findings. But one thing does seem to be sure. Teens are drinking less.

Results from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS), show that from 1991 to 2011, the percentage of teens who admit to consuming at least one drink of alcohol at some point in their life dropped from 81.6% to 70.8%. The same survey results revealed that the number of teens who admit to having driven drunk has been cut in half, from 16.7% to 8.2%.

The 2013 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey (FYSAS) reveals similar findings. From 2004 to 2013, past 30-day alcohol use declined by 9.2%. Binge drinking and drug use also declined.

Now here’s where things get a bit dicey. While the Center for Disease Control (CDC’s) findings support the teen drinking trend found by both YRBSS and FYSAS, it’s findings on marijuana use reveal an increase of about 9% from 1991 to 2013. 

Finally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released data that backs the claim that teens are drinking less. From 2002 to 2012, SAMHSA found alcohol use among people aged 12 to 17 and binge drinking among teens also dropped. Despite the general decrease in alcohol and drug use reported by SAMHSA, it did acknowledge that roughly 25 million young people are current illegal drug users.

So, there you have it. Teens may be criticized for being lazier, more entitled and a little fatter than their parents’ generation, but one thing older folks can’t say is that teens today are wilder. The research has been conducted, and the results are in. Teens are drinking less.

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