AMA Alcohol policies

AMA Strategy to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking

The Board on Children, Youth and Families of The National Academies' National Research Council and Institute of Medicine has formed a committee to develop a strategy to prevent and reduce underage drinking.

The committee is reviewing existing federal, state and non-governmental programs, including media-based programs, designed to change the attitudes and health behaviors of youth. The review also includes programs that focus directly on behavior change as well as those designed to change underage drinking behavior through reduction of adolescent access to alcohol (such as through increased excise taxes, aggressive enforcement of age and identification checks, and restriction of alcohol on college campuses).

As part of its review, the committee held a public hearing last November featuring key stakeholders and experts in the alcohol prevention and treatment fields.  Among those testifying was Dr. John Nelson, secretary-treasurer of the American Medical Association.

He urged the committee to include several recommendations in its final report: A call on the Federal Trade Commission and appropriate Congressional committees to hold hearings to investigate the impact of alcohol advertising and marketing on underage drinking; more research on the harmful effects of alcohol on adolescents and the effectiveness of physician screening, intervention and prevention approaches; increased alcohol excise taxes to delay and reduce alcohol consumption by young people; and, funding for counter advertising.  Nelson's testimony is available for viewing.

The committee is expected to issue its final report this summer.