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Prevention of underage drinking is aimed at reducing a young person’s risk of using alcohol or increasing factors that help protect them against alcohol use. Factors Affecting UAD provides a developmental and environmental context for understanding underage alcohol use and its prevention. Prevention offers tools that families, schools, and communities can use to implement effective prevention programs. Prevention Program Databases lists several useful databases.

Visit the Statistics page for more facts about underage drinking and its consequences. The UAD Web Sites page provides links to several sites with additional age-appropriate resources aimed at preventing underage drinking.

Factors Affecting UAD

Pediatrics, Issue Supplement: Underage Drinking
This special issue of Pediatrics focuses on underage drinking, beginning with a developmental framework for understanding and addressing this public health problem. Three articles look specifically at UAD prevalence and risk among children under age 10, early adolescents aged 10–15, and late adolescents aged 16–20. Three additional articles review the state of the science on prevention and treatment interventions for UAD. Articles in this supplement present the results of the discussions about UAD that took place among members of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Team on Underage Drinking and its group of outside experts. (Pediatrics; 2008)
Alcohol Alerts
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Alcohol Alert is a quarterly bulletin that disseminates important research findings on a single aspect of alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Reports related to underage drinking include:
NSDUH Reports on Underage Drinking
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) is the primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and abuse in the general U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population, ages 12 and older. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration periodically publishes The NSDUH Report, which presents special topics based on NSDUH data. Reports related to underage drinking include:
Public Services Activities by the Beverage Alcohol Industry
The alcohol industry’s public service efforts include an array of programs and resources designed to reduce the harm associated with underage and abusive drinking and to assist enforcement of the legal drinking age and drunk driving laws. Materials are widely available free of charge and often in different languages. This appendix gives examples of initiatives supported by industry organizations and individual companies. (Federal Trade Commission; updated June 2007)

Prevention Resources and Approaches

The Community Guide
The Guide to Community Preventive Services (The Community Guide) is a resource for evidence-based findings and recommendations about what works to improve public health. The reviews found on The Community Guide website systematically assess all available scientific evidence to determine the effectiveness of population-based public health interventions. The Community Preventive Services Task Force, an independent, nonfederal panel, has recommended 8 strategies for the prevention of excessive drinking, including underage and binge drinking, based on systematic reviews to ensure that practice, policy, and research funding decisions are informed by the highest quality evidence.
Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide
This guide is designed to help health care professionals quickly identify youth at risk for alcohol-related problems. Based on just two questions, one that asks about friends’ drinking and another that asks about personal drinking frequency, health care professionals can now detect risk early, in contrast to other screens that focus on established alcohol problems. This early detection tool aims to help prevent alcohol-related problems in children and youth before they start or address them at early stage. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2011)
PDF IconSober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act
This Act states that the Secretary of Health and Human Services shall, with input and collaboration from other appropriate Federal agencies; States; Indian Tribes; Territories; and public health, consumer, and alcohol beverage industry groups, annually issue a “report card” to accurately rate the performance of each State in enacting, enforcing, and creating laws, regulations, and programs to prevent or reduce underage drinking. The report card shall include ratings on outcome measures for categories related to the prevalence of underage drinking in each State. (U.S. Congress; December 2006)
Underage Drinking: A Growing Health Care Concern
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism supports research aimed at developing early intervention approaches that will prevent alcohol problems among youth, especially those between ages 12 and 20. This report describes the scope of underage drinking today, including consequences, and prevention and treatment approaches that are proving particularly effective (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; no date)
The SAMHSA Store offers free publications, games, posters, and other resources related to promoting mental health and preventing and treating mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders. Enter “underage drinking” in the search box for a full listing of products on this issue.
Adolescent and School Health: School Connectedness
School connectedness—the belief held by students that adults and peers in the school care about their learning as well as about them as individuals—is an important protective factor. Research has shown that young people who feel connected to their school are less likely to engage in many risk behaviors, including alcohol, tobacco, and drug use, violence, and early sex. This fact sheet describes six strategies that teachers, administrators, other school staff, and parents can implement to increase the extent to which students feel connected to school. Links to additional resources also are provided. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; updated March 2011)
PDF IconFocus On Prevention
This guide was developed to help a wide range of groups and communities move from concerns about substance abuse to proven and practical solutions. It is a starting point that offers brief, practical, and easy-to-read information that is useful in planning and delivering prevention strategies. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U. S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2010)

Prevention Program Databases

Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center
The Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center was established to support its Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program. The mission of the Center is to build leadership capacity and increase the effectiveness of States and local communities in their efforts to enforce underage drinking laws, prevent underage drinking, and eliminate the devastating consequences associated with alcohol use by underage youth. The Center achieves this goal by providing a wide variety of science-based, practical, and effective training and technical assistance services. (Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U.S. Department of Justice)
National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices
The National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices is a searchable online registry of more than 200 interventions supporting mental health promotion, substance abuse prevention, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) Web site
The APIS Web site provides detailed information on 35 alcohol-related policies at the State and Federal levels. Detailed information by State is available for each policy. Click on Highlight on Underage Drinking for an overview of underage drinking in the United States; alcohol policies affecting drinking by those under age 21, including enforcement policies affecting businesses; and prevention resources available through APIS. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

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