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Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility
Recommendation 10-4: The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration should continue to fund evaluations of college-based interventions, with a particular emphasis on targeting of interventions to specific college characteristics, and should maintain a list of evidence-based programs.
Recommendation 10-5: The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and states should expand the availability of effective clinical services for treating alcohol abuse among underage populations and for following up on treatment. The U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Department of Justice should establish policies that facilitate diagnosing and referring underage alcohol abusers and those who are alcohol dependent for clinical treatment.
Community mobilization can be a powerful vehicle to implement and support interventions, especially those that target community-level policies and practices. Communities can design multipronged comprehensive initiatives that rely on scientifically based strategies and are responsive to the specific problems of their communities. College campuses and local communities have a reciprocal influence on one another in relation to student alcohol use and the need to develop complementary strategies.
Recommendation 11-1: Community leaders should assess the underage drinking problem in their communities and consider effective approaches—such as community organizing, coalition building, and the strategic use of the mass media—to reduce drinking among underage youth.
Recommendation 11-2: Public and private funders should support community mobilization to reduce underage drinking. Federal funding for reducing and preventing underage drinking should be available under a national program dedicated to community-level approaches to reducing underage drinking, similar to the Drug Free Communities Act, which supports communities in addressing substance abuse with targeted, evidence-based prevention strategies.
Government Assistance and Coordination
The ultimate responsibility for preventing and reducing underage drinking lies with the entire national community, not with government alone.