A US trade group has welcomed figures showing a continuing drop in the rates of underage drinking in the country, but has admitted there is “more work to do”.

The US Department of Health & Human Services' annual study of drug and alcohol usage found that, among 12-17 year-olds, marijuana use is on the rise, while drinking is broadly on the decline.

The Beer Institute flagged that, since 2002 among 12-17 years-olds, “current drinking” has fallen by 34% to 11.6% of the age group; “binge-drinking” has declined 42% to 6.2%, and “heavy drinking” has fallen 52% to 1.2%. These are all “record-lows”, the body said.

Binge drinking is defined in the survey as five or more drinks in a session, while "heavy drinking" is defined as five or more drinks in a session at least five times in a month. 

Jim McGreevy, the Beer Institute's President & CEO, said: “While there is always more work to do, the fact that fewer underage youth are drinking is welcome news. America’s brewers and beer importers are ... putting real money and real effort into our partnerships with law enforcement and community leaders to reduce underage drinking." 

He added: “These numbers prove that, when we all work together, we can make a difference.”

The survey was conducted among around 68,000 people across the US, aged 12 and older.