Of the ninth-graders, 47 percent said they had drunk alcohol at least once in the past year. Last year that figure was 52 percent, and in 2004, it was 73 percent. Going back even further, in the 1970's, nine out of ten 15-year-olds had drunk alcohol in the past year.
"There are many possible reasons. There is a health trend, and there has been much preventative work done. Parents have become more restrictive about offering alcohol and there are more immigrant students and they drink less," says Leifman.