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Alcohol Use Among Youth

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Abstract:

Alcohol use by persons under age 21 has been identified as a major public health problem. Studies note that it increases the risks for disability, and may be detrimental to the developing brain. Minors who drink are more likely to commit suicide, break the law, or be victims of violence. Alcohol is implicated in nearly one-third of youth traffic fatalities. The total annual cost of underage drinking is estimated at $62 billion. While most laws intended to prevent underage drinking are passed at the state level, there has been legislative activity and interest at the federal level to support states' efforts to curb the problem. This report describes the extent of underage alcohol use, recent legislative activity on this issue, and various policy implications. It will be updated as new data become available.