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However, the federal and state governments have important responsibilities in addition to enforcing the law. These responsibilities include funding media campaigns, supporting community efforts, monitoring alcohol and entertainment industry portrayals of drinking, monitoring trends in underage drinking and the effectiveness of efforts to reduce it, coordinating multiple agency activities, and supporting continued research and evaluation.

Recommendation 12-1: A federal interagency coordinating committee on prevention of underage drinking should be established, chaired by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Recommendation 12-2: A National Training and Research Center on Underage Drinking should be established in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This body would provide technical assistance, training, and evaluation support and would monitor progress in implementing national goals.

Recommendation 12-3: The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should issue an annual report on underage drinking to Congress summarizing all federal agency activities, progress in reducing underage drinking, and key surveillance data.

Recommendation 12-4: Each state should designate a lead agency to coordinate and spearhead its activities and programs to reduce and prevent underage drinking.

Recommendation 12-5: The annual report of the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on underage drinking should include key indicators of underage drinking.

Recommendation 12-6: The Monitoring the Future Survey and the National Survey on Drug Use and Health should be revised to elicit more precise information on the quantity of alcohol consumed and to ascertain brand preferences of underage drinkers.

Alcohol Excise Taxes

Alcoholic beverages are far cheaper (after adjusting for overall inflation) today than they were in the 1960s and 1970s. While raising excise taxes, and therefore prices, would have some effect on alcohol use by adults, price has been documented to have a differential effect on youth alcohol consumption patterns. Taxes can also be a source of revenue for funding strategies aimed at reducing underage drinking and its associated harms.



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