Change Indicator

Students who have had at least one drink of alcohol in the last 30 days in New Hampshire

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Why This Indicator Matters

Alcohol is the most common substance used by young people, more common than marijuana and
vaping or nicotine products. Drinking alcohol during adolescence can cause serious changes to the
brain during its maturation and development. According to Lindsay M. Squeglia, Professor and
Researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina, when adolescents engage in heavy alcohol
use, normal brain development is disrupted, and deviations in development occur – changes to brain
development can include:

“Poorer inhibition and decision making, atypical maturation of both gray and white
matter, and a greater brain activation during cognitive tasks, despite equal
performance (suggesting that brains of youth who are drinking have to ‘work harder’
to keep up).”1

Additionally, adolescents who consume alcohol are more likely to experience physical and sexual
violence, and alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, and are at an increased risk of suicide and
homicide. Youth who drink alcohol are more likely to misuse other substances as well. Generally, the
risk of these problems is greater for youth who binge drink.2

Another issue stemming from underage drinking is the use of other substances and the increased
risk of developing alcohol use disorder later in their lives – according to the National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, research has shown that adults aged 26 and older are over five times
more likely to report alcohol use disorder if they began drinking before age 15 as opposed to waiting
until they turned 21. The research also reports that this risk is higher for females than males.3

1 Squeglia LM. Alcohol and the developing adolescent brain. World Psychiatry. 2020;19(3):393-394.
2 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health, Understanding Alcohol Use Disorder Fact Sheet,
3 Ibid.
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Definition and Source



This indicator reports the number and percentage of students in grades 9 through 12 at New Hampshire high schools participating in the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) who said they had at least one drink of alcohol at least one day in the 30 days before the survey. This data is displayed by Regional Public Health Network.

Data Source

Public Health Network Data source: New Hampshire DHHS, Population Health, Health Statistics & Informatics

State level data source: Central for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Adolescent and School Health (DASH), Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System, Youth Online


Updated February 2023.
N.A. – Data not available.

Last Updated

February 2023