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Pa. survey: Underage drinking prevalent

HARRISBURG, Pa., Feb. 24 (UPI) — The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board says no substance is more widely abused in the United States by those under the age of 21 than alcohol.

“This survey’s findings should serve as a reminder to parents and the entire community that no one is immune to the dangers of alcohol misuse and abuse,” Patrick J. “PJ” Stapleton, chairman of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, says in a statement.

The survey, required annually by law, presents updated information on levels and trends of underage consumption of alcohol prevention programs supported by agency partners and science-based, proven prevention strategies.

Using data collected via the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency’s Pennsylvania Youth Survey and the Core Institute at Southern Illinois University of Carbondale, the study reports:

— Pennsylvania youth ages 12-17 have a lower rate of alcohol dependence and abuse than the national average.

— Slightly more than one-third of those youth believe there is a “great risk” in using alcohol.

— Nearly 90 percent of Pennsylvania college students report having used alcohol in their lifetime, compared to 86 percent nationwide.

— 65 percent of Pennsylvania college students reported having their first drink by the age of 17.

— Slightly more than half of Pennsylvania college students believe the social atmosphere of their campus promotes alcohol use.