Underage drinking is a serious public health problem in the United States. Alcohol is the most widely used
substance of abuse among America’s youth, and drinking by young people poses enormous health and safety risks. Reducing underage drinking will require community-based efforts to monitor the activities of youth and decrease youth access to alcohol.
Reducing underage drinking will require community-based efforts to monitor the activities of youth and
decrease youth access to alcohol. Recent publications by the Surgeon General and the Institute of Medicine outlined
many prevention strategies for the prevention of underage drinking, such as enforcement of minimum legal drinking age laws, national media campaigns targeting youth and adults, increasing alcohol excise taxes, reducing youth exposure to alcohol advertising, and development of comprehensive community-based programs.
Alcohol affects every organ in the body. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the
stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver by enzymes. However, the liver can only metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, leaving the excess alcohol to circulate throughout the body. The intensity of the effect of alcohol on the body is directly related to the amount consumed.
Individual reactions to alcohol vary, and are influenced by many factors, such as:
Adult supervised drinking actually results in more overall drinking in places other than home.
Sources: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2017. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),
Fact Sheets: Underage Drinking. Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 2009).