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Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility
sion programs, and music recordings and videos that are offered at times or in venues likely to have a significant youth audience (e.g., 15 percent) to ascertain the nature and frequency of lyrics or images pertaining to alcohol. The results of these reviews should be reported to Congress and the public.
Limiting youth access to alcohol has been shown to be effective in reducing and preventing underage drinking and drinking-related problems. Since 21 became the nationwide legal drinking age, there have been significant decreases in drinking, fatal traffic crashes, alcohol-related crashes, and arrests for “driving under the influence” (DUI) among young people. Given the widespread availability of alcohol and easy access by underage drinkers, minimum drinking age laws must be enforced more effectively, along with social sanctions. The effectiveness of underage drinking laws could be enhanced through such approaches as compliance checks, server training, zero tolerance laws, and graduated driver licensing laws.
Recommendation 9-1: The minimum drinking age laws of each state should prohibit
purchase or attempted purchase, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under 21;
possession of and use of falsified or fraudulent identification to purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages;
provision of any alcohol to minors by adults, except to their own children in their own residences; and
underage drinking in private clubs and establishments.
Recommendation 9-2: States should strengthen their compliance check programs in retail outlets, using media campaigns and license revocation to increase deterrence.
Communities and states should undertake regular and comprehensive compliance check programs, including notification of retailers concerning the program and follow-up communication to them about the outcome (sale/no sale) for their outlet.
Enforcement agencies should issue citations for violations of underage sales laws, with substantial fines and temporary suspension of license for first offenses and increasingly stronger penalties thereafter, leading to permanent revocation of license after three offenses.
Communities and states should implement media campaigns in conjunction with compliance check programs detailing the program, its purpose, and outcomes.