This report on underage drinking in the United States by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University:
- brings together data that are now reported piecemeal,
- focuses and advances our current understanding of underage drinking, and
- seeks to prompt action by putting a spotlight on whether the nation is making progress in protecting our children by reducing underage drinking.
The landmark September 2003 study by the National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (NRC/IOM), Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility, called for an "annual report" by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. To date, no such report has been forthcoming. An "annual report" by HHS as recommended by the NRC/IOM would go beyond the scope of this report; the NRC/IOM called for the annual reporting of:
- funding levels for preventing underage drinking,
- activities supported by the funds,
- results from funded activities,
- data that measure progress in reducing underage drinking,
- data on brands drunk by youth and where alcohol was obtained,
- data on the reach of alcohol advertising to the underage population and entertainment portrayals of alcohol use, and
- future activities and any changes in strategy.
While funding levels, activities funded, and results achieved are beyond the scope of this report, and while data on brand preferences and sources of alcohol are still not collected and therefore not reportable, this report offers a template on how to bring existing data together to focus attention and prompt action to protect our children.