Underage Drinking


Help Promote Real Solutions on Underage Drinking at Town Hall Meeting Events
As part of a federal government effort to curb underage drinking, the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD)—comprised of 12 federal agencies—is encouraging states and communities to hold town hall-style meetings on underage drinking in March 2006.  The purpose of the meetings is to increase the understanding of underage drinking and its consequences, and to encourage parents, families, and communities to address the problem. The Town Halls will provide a forum for communities to discuss how they can best prevent underage alcohol use. Anyone can participate, including parents, youth, educators, and representatives from substance abuse prevention, other health entities, justice/law enforcement, highway safety, alcohol control, local government, and business. Communities are encouraged to host their Town Hall Meetings on, or as close as possible to, March 28, 2006, in order to create a national event that can draw local and national press attention.
The list of communities planning to hold Town Hall meetings is being continually updated, but a preliminary list can be found on-line at:
Underage Drinking Prevention: Town Hall Meetings
If your community is planning to hold a Town Hall meeting, we strongly urge you to attend and get involved in advocating for community action that will reduce the availability, access, and attractiveness of alcohol to underage youth, in addition to building awareness of the problem. Decades of research clearly shows that education and awareness about the problem are not enough. Real solutions demand community-based strategies such as those recommended by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (NAS/IOM) in its September 2003 report to Congress on underage drinking prevention, including, for example:

  • Improve enforcement and effectiveness of underage drinking laws through systematic compliance checks, mandated server training, enactment or strengthening of local dram shop liability statutes, and programs to deter adults from providing or purchasing alcohol for minors.
  • Increase state and federal excise taxes on alcoholic beverages to reduce underage consumption and to raise additional revenues for prevention.
  • Establish local zoning laws to control alcohol outlet density (higher outlet density is associated with increased incidence of driving under the influence, ease of alcohol purchase and heavy and frequent drinking among youth).
  • Develop and implement local ordinances to reduce alcoholic-beverage industry sponsorship of community events, and signage at youth sports venues and competitions.
In addition to the suggested guidance and materials being provided by government agencies (Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility, ), we have included links to recommended materials that specifically address environmental prevention strategies such as those recommend the NAS/IOM. We encourage you to promote discussion and adoption of such strategies at the Town Hall meetings!
To call greater federal attention to the issue, you may also wish to consider inviting your Members of Congress to send District/State Office staff to the event and submit a statement for the Congressional Record in support of the Town Hall meeting.  (Members will not likely be able to attend the events themselves, as Congress will be in session the week of the Town Hall meetings).  You can call their offices and ask for the scheduler to find out how to formally place these requests.
Selected On-Line Resources and Down-Loadable Materials on Underage Drinking Prevention Strategies:
Summary of NAS/IOM Report on Underage Drinking Prevention (National Academy of Sciences, 31pp) (Some states - notably New Hampshire, Florida, and Oregon - have developed state strategies using the NAS report as a guideline)
Join Together's "Get Serious" Campaign - Petition State officials to "get serious about alcohol policies that save kids' lives"
Factsheet:  Why Raise Taxes To Protect Underage Youth?  Evidence Supporting NAS/IOM Recommendations (CSPI, 2pp)
Factbook on State Beer Taxes (CSPI, 24pp)
Strategizer:  Increasing Alcohol Taxes to Fund Programs to Prevent and Treat Youth-Related Alcohol Problems (CADCA & CSPI, 12pp)
Strategizer:  Preventing Youth Access to Alcohol from Commerical Sources (CADCA & CSPI, 8pp)
Alcohol Industry 101:  Its Structure and Organization (AMA, 36pp)
Partner or Foe? The Alcohol Industry, Youth Alcohol Problems, and Alcohol Policy Strategies (AMA, 16pp)
Underage Drinking Costs (PIRE)
Marin Institute Resources: "Roadmap to Change:  solutions to Community Alcohol Problems"
Factsheet on Adult Accountability
Community Action Kits (and Other Free Reports from FACE)
NHTSA Community "HowTo" Guide on Prevention





The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is a nonprofit health-advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on nutrition, food safety, and alcohol policies.  It led efforts to obtain warning labels on alcoholic beverages and is well-known for revealing the nutrition content of many restaurant foods.  CSPI is supported largely by the 800,000 U.S. and Canadian subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter and by foundation grants.

Updated March 16, 2006


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Center for Science in the Public Interest

Alcohol Policies Project

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Phone: 202-332-9110 * Fax: 202-265-4954 * Web: www.cspinet.org/booze