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drinkers, the occasions for underage drinking, and the demand for alcohol among young people.


The committee’s proposed strategy for broad societal commitment to reduce underage drinking has ten main components.

National Adult-Oriented Media Campaign

Most adults express concern about youth drinking and support public policy actions to reduce youth access to alcohol. Nonetheless, youth obtain alcohol from adults. Parents tend to dramatically underestimate underage drinking generally and their own children’s drinking in particular. The first component in the strategy calls for the development of a media campaign, including rigorous formative research on effective messages, aimed at increasing specific actions by adults meant to reduce underage drinking and decreasing adult conduct that facilitates underage drinking.

Recommendation 6-1: The federal government should fund and actively support the development of a national media effort, as a major component of an adult-oriented campaign to reduce underage drinking.

Partnership to Prevent Underage Drinking

Despite laws that aim to preclude drinking by those under the age of 21, a significant amount of underage drinking occurs, generating revenues for producers, wholesalers, and retailers of alcoholic beverages, especially beer. The alcohol industry has declared its commitment to reducing underage drinking and has invested in programs with that aim. However, the outcomes of these efforts are not always apparent, and the motives are sometimes questioned. A partnership between the alcohol industry, government, and other private partners would facilitate a coordinated, evidence-based approach to reduce and prevent underage drinking.

Recommendation 7-1: All segments of the alcohol industry that profit from underage drinking, inadvertently or otherwise, should join with other private and public partners to establish and fund an independent nonprofit foundation with the sole mission of reducing and preventing underage drinking.

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