In this era of “Where is the good news?” positive news came out of Santa Fe last month.
The New Mexico Substance Abuse State Epidemiology Profile indicated that teen drinking is on the decrease. The profile is a tool for substance abuse prevention planners.
According to the report, drinking by youth can lead to alcohol-related injury or death, as well as serious consequences in adulthood, from alcohol abuse or drug dependence to a variety of diseases resulting from chronic heavy drinking.
Findings in the report include:
• Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among youth in the state.
• Most high school students do not drink. In 2019, 28.6 percent of high school students reported they were current drinkers, a significant decrease from 43.3 percent in 2005.
• Youth binge-drinking has decreased over the last decade.
• Among New Mexico high school students, binge-drinking was more commonly reported by upper-grade students than lower-grade students, with no significant difference in the binge-drinking rate between male and female students.
• On average, underage drinkers consume more drinks per occasion than adult drinkers.
• In 2019, New Mexico high school students were more likely to report driving after drinking alcohol than other U.S. students (6.8 percent vs. 5.4 percent). Driving after drinking was more common among boys than girls, and less common among White and American Indian youth than among other racial/ethnic groups.
• In 2019, marijuana and methamphetamine use in the past 30 days was more prevalent among New Mexico students than among U.S. students. The use of marijuana was more commonly reported by American Indian students than by students in other racial/ethnic groups. Asian/Pacific Islander students were more likely to report past-30-day use of inhalants, while Black students were more likely to report past-30-day use of cocaine, painkillers, heroin and methamphetamine than students of other racial/ethnic groups.
• Adult binge drinking (defined as drinking five or more drinks on a single occasion for men, or four or more drinks on a single occasion for women) is associated with numerous types of injury and death, including motor-vehicle crash fatalities, drug overdose, falls, suicide and homicide.
• Among adults (ages 18 or over) of all ethnicities, binge drinking was more commonly reported by males than females, mirroring higher rates of alcohol-related injury and death among males.
• Young adults (ages 18-24) were more likely than other age groups to report binge drinking.
• Between 2017-19 in the state, adult heavy drinking (defined as drinking, on average, more than two drinks per day for men, more than one drink per day for women) was less commonly reported (5.6 percent) than in the rest of the nation (6.5 percent).
• Heavy drinking was more prevalent among middle-aged (ages 25-64) adults, with 6 percent reporting past-month heavy drinking. New Mexico men were more likely to report chronic drinking than women (6.7 percent vs. 4.6 percent).
• Adult drinking and driving, with data accumulated in even years, showed that in 2018, past-30-day drinking and driving was reported in New Mexico by 1 percent of adults 18 and older.
• Past-30-day drinking and driving was more prevalent among young and middle-age adults than among older adults.
• New Mexico men were twice as likely to report drinking and driving as women (1.3 percent vs. 0.6 percent).