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salers, and retail distributors. In some states, some of these actors are government agencies. In principle, state control over distribution provides an opportunity for the state to achieve important social goals other than maximizing sale of alcoholic beverages, including keeping alcohol out of the hands of underage drinkers. It is also worth noting that an important source of supply to underage drinkers is not the commercial sector; instead, it is the diversion of alcohol from stocks kept in private homes to support adult drinking. Efforts to reduce underage access to alcohol are grounded in a legal prohibition, and the committee makes a variety of recommendations to strengthen this legal foundation and to increase the effectiveness of enforcement. However, given the diverse sources of supply to underage drinkers, it must be emphasized that the law cannot carry the weight of this obligation alone; it must be accompanied and reinforced by a genuine commitment to reduce underage drinking among these businesses and among parents.


Responsibility for reducing drinking opportunities for young people, a distinctly practical task in everyday life, rests again with both commercial and noncommercial actors. Bars, taverns, public houses, restaurants, and other businesses that create opportunities for people to drink have an important responsibility to ensure that underage drinking does not occur. In addition, parents, schools, landlords, and everyone else with legal control over premises in which young people drink also have an obligation to take appropriate actions. Parents should not sponsor or facilitate underage drinking parties in the home on the assumption that “it will occur anyway” and that parental supervision can reduce the risks. Schools should work with community organizations to prevent drinking parties and to create alternatives. Local governments should develop strategies for preventing public parks and other public facilities from being used for underage drinking. Landlords who rent property to underage tenants should include lease provisions making drinking parties grounds for termination. Colleges and military installations have unique obligations in this context because such a large number of underage people in these settings are among slightly older peers.


Responsibility for reducing underage “demand” for alcohol and for teaching about acceptable drinking practices is generally thought to rest largely, if not exclusively, with parents and schools—perhaps supplemented by public service media messages funded by the government and private

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