More Utah high school seniors drinking alcohol, report shows

October 31, 2017

SALT LAKE CITY — Alcohol use among Utah high school seniors is up for the first time in more than a decade, according to a new state report.

The Student Health and Risk Prevention, or SHARP, survey also showed a slight uptick in drinking among sixth-graders, while alcohol consumption among eighth- and 10th-graders dropped.

“It’s not completely unexpected, just because Utah has very low rates,” said Doug Murakami, Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s director of alcohol education. “It’s something we really need to keep an eye on to make sure these trends don’t all start to do that.”

High school seniors who say they drank alcohol within the past 30 days rose from 13.6 percent in 2015 to 14.7 percent this year, the biennial survey showed. For sixth-graders, the number rose from 0.7 percent to 0.9 percent. Thirty-day alcohol use is the benchmark for measuring teenage drinking.

The national average for 12th-graders is 33.2 percent.

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