Survey: NM teen drinking declined in 2013

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – Here’s something parents are going to love to hear, New Mexico teens aren’t drinking alcohol like they used to.

In state survey results released on Thursday, the number of teens who admitted to downing enough drinks to get drunk in the past month dropped from about 1 in 3 in 2003 to 1 in 6 in 2013.

The number of teens who admitted to drinking and then driving in the past month dropped from about 1 in 5 in 2003 to 1 in 10 in 2013.

“It’s a really impressive drop,” said Emily Croasdell, a junior at Albuquerque High School. “It’s still too high in my opinion.”

The State’s Health and Public Education Departments gave the survey to 19,000 New Mexico high school students in the fall.

No one knows exactly why there’s been such a huge drop over the past decade.

It mirrors a national trend as schools and governments have focused on prevention, with outreach and ad campaigns geared toward a younger audience.

There’s also been better enforcement when it comes to selling to minors.

“If you do sell to a minor, they’ll come in here and arrest you on the spot and take you straight to jail,” said Kenya Mamales, cashier at Kelly Liquor. “That’s not something anyone wants to go through.”

Some teens have their own theories.

“I don’t think it’s as popular anymore. It’s not as much of a big deal,” said Haley Darrow, a freshman at Albuquerque High School. “If you drink, it’s become more of like, ‘Okay, you have fun with that.'”

The survey didn’t just cover alcohol, it asked students about using painkillers too.

About 1 in 10 students admitted to popping a prescription pill in the past month.

That question wasn’t in the survey a decade ago.

The use of other kinds of drugs has held steady over he past 10 years,  including heroin.

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