Recommendation 12-7: Congress and state legislatures should raise excise taxes to reduce underage consumption and to raise additional revenues for this purpose. Top priority should be given to raising beer taxes, and excise tax rates for all alcoholic beverages should be indexed to the consumer price index so that they keep pace with inflation without the necessity of further legislative action.
Rigorous research and evaluation are needed to assess the effectiveness of specific interventions and to ensure that future refinements of the strategy are grounded in evidence-based approaches. Research related to prototype development for the proposed adult media campaign is a core component of the strategy outlined in this report. In addition, continued research and evaluation are necessary to develop new approaches aimed at reaching all segments of the underage population.
Recommendation 12-8: All interventions, including media messages and education programs, whether funded by public or private sources, should be rigorously evaluated, and a portion of all federal grant funds for alcohol-related programs should be designated for evaluation.
Recommendation 12-9: States and the federal government—particularly the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Education—should fund the development and evaluation of programs to cover all underage populations.
In sum, our proposed strategy calls for development of a national campaign to engage adults in a concerted effort to stop enabling or ignoring youth drinking. The proposed strategy calls on the alcohol industry to enter a partnership with government and other private funders to implement a coordinated, evidence-based approach to reducing underage drinking. It proposes steps to increase compliance with laws against selling or providing alcohol to minors. It calls for reducing youth exposure to alcohol advertising or music and other entertainment with products and ads that glorify drinking. It recognizes the potential importance of school-based education approaches and the need for residential colleges and universities to implement comprehensive approaches. It calls on local leaders to apply the multiple tools available to address underage drinking within the context of their communities. And it challenges federal and state governments to coordinate their efforts and to raise excise taxes to reduce underage consumption and raise revenues for the proposed strategy. Finally, it recommends ongoing monitoring and continued research and evaluation to facilitate continued refinement of the strategy and its implementation.