rate of heavy drinking doubles from age 14 (about 6 percent) to age 15 (about 12 percent) and continues to increase steadily. By age 18, more than 30 percent report heavy drinking, and at age 20 nearly 40 percent report heavy drinking. By ages 19 and 20 a full 70 percent of recent alcohol users engaged in heavy drinking.
Frequent heavy drinking also steadily increases for each age between 12 and 20. More than 10 percent of 18-year-olds and nearly 15 percent of 20-year-olds report frequent heavy drinking (Flewelling et al., 2004). When reported by race or ethnicity, white youths aged 12-20 have the highest reported rates of heavy drinking (21.4 percent), followed by American Indians and Alaska Natives (20.3 percent), Latinos (17.2 percent), African Americans (10.3 percent), and Asian Americans (7.9 percent) (SAMHSA, 2002). Data from MTF show somewhat different prevalence rates, but a similar pattern (see Table 2-2). Drinking prevalence increases as youth age, for lifetime use, use in the last 30 days, and five or more drinks in the past 2 weeks. As mentioned above, though MTF reports multiyear decreases in underage drinking (see Table 2-3) the rates remain disturbingly high. For