The Facts About Underage Drinking
The following section provides a background on the prevalence, characteristics and consequences of underage drinking both at a state and national level.
National Academy of Sciences/Institute of Medicine Report
Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility. In 2003, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) issued a report to Congress entitled, Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility. The report, which was officially published the following year, presents a through review of the underage drinking issue and suggests a comprehensive package of recommendations to address the problem. The NAS report is structured in a way to easily facilitate the implementation of changes to policies, practices, and conditions that contribute to the problem of underage drinking.
The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking
On March 6, 2007 Acting U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth P. Moritsugu issued the Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking, appealing to the Nation to do more to stop America’s 11 million current underage drinkers from using alcohol, and to keep other young people from starting.
Developed in collaboration with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Call to Action identifies six goals:
- Engage parents, schools, communities, all levels of government, all social systems that interface with youth, and youth themselves in a coordinated national effort to prevent and reduce underage drinking and its consequences.
- Foster changes in society that facilitate healthy adolescent development and that help prevent and reduce underage drinking.
- Promote an understanding of underage alcohol consumption in the context of human development and maturation that takes into account individual adolescent characteristics as well as environmental, ethnic, cultural, and gender differences.
- Conduct additional research on adolescent alcohol use and its relationship to development.
- Work to improve public health surveillance on underage drinking and on population-based risk factors for this behavior.
- Work to ensure that policies at all levels are consistent with the national goal of preventing and reducing underage alcohol consumption.
“Alcohol remains the most heavily abused substance by America’s youth,” said Dr. Moritsugu. “This Call to Action is attempting to change the culture and attitudes toward drinking in America. We can no longer ignore what alcohol is doing to our children.”
- Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center: The Center was established by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to support its Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) Program. Its mission was to provide science-based, practical, and effective training and technical assistance to States and communities working to combat underage drinking through law enforcement and environmental management strategies.
- StopAlcoholAbuse.gov is a comprehensive portal of Federal resources for information on underage drinking and ideas for combating this issue. People interested in underage drinking prevention—including parents, educators, community-based organizations, and youth—will find a wealth of valuable information here.(www.stopalcoholabuse.gov)
- Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data for North Carolina – View a summary of data from the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey describing the risky behavior and problems associated with underage drinking in North Carolina. www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/yrbs/index.htm
- Quick Statistics on Underage drinking: www.cdc.gov/alcohol/quickstats/underage_drinking.htm
- The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) (www.pire.org) is one of the nation’s preeminent independent, nonprofit organizations focusing on individual and social problems associated with the use of alcohol and other drugs. The Institute carries out a broad array of research and offers a wealth of information on topics ranging from alcohol advertising, access and price to the relationship between alcohol and youth violence. The Institute also houses the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center, which provides training and technical assistance on the implementation and enforcement of underage drinking laws and policies at it ten research centers located around the country.
- Alcohol Justice: Alcohol Justice fights to protect the public from the impact of the alcohol industry’s negative practices. They monitor and expose the alcohol industry’s harmful actions related to products, promotions and social influence, and support communities in their efforts to reject these damaging activities.
- The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) (www.camy.org) is an organization that monitors the marketing practices of the alcohol industry to focus attention and action on industry practices that jeopardize the health and safety of America’s youth.
- CAMY has many fact sheets on underage drinking, which can all be found here: http://www.camy.org/factsheets/
- The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (www.niaaa.nih.gov) of the National Institutes of Health is a source for a wide variety of research, particularly on the topic of underage drinking.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has established a clear vision for its work — a life in the community for everyone. To realize this vision, the Agency has sharply focused its mission on building resilience and facilitating recovery for people with or at risk for mental or substance use disorders. SAMHSA is gearing all of its resources — programs, policies and grants — toward that outcome.
- Spotlight on Underage Drinking
- Too Smart to Start is an underage alcohol use prevention initiative for parents, caregivers, and their 9-to-13 year-old children. http://www.toosmarttostart.samhsa.gov
- Center for Science in the Public Interest, Alcohol Policies Project: Though no longer active, the Alcohol Policies Project was established to help focus attention on policy reforms to reduce the health and social consequences of using alcohol. Until 2010, the project has worked with thousands of organizations and individuals to promote a comprehensive, prevention-oriented policy strategy to change the role of alcohol in society. Helpful archived information on alcohol and alcohol policy is still housed at their site.
- The Centers for Disease Control’s Community Guide on Preventing Excessive Alcohol Consumption is an excellent resource for individuals seeking information on public health approaches to preventing underage drinking. You can visit the CDC’s Community Guide at: http://www.thecommunityguide.org/alcohol/index.html