Driving Restrictions, Campus Interventions Curb Underage Drinking, Shows Study


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The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) today announced that the U.S. Surgeon General's recommended strategies to curb underage drinking may actually be working. The institute has issued a new report published in this month's Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The report shows that methods such as young driver curfews, license suspension laws, physician screenings, and college campus/community interventions have helped to slightly reduce underage alcohol consumption. At least one study covered in the report found that alcohol use among 12th-graders in the U.S. fell to 62% in 2013, down from over 66% in 2007.

“The downward trend in underage drinking and alcohol-related traffic deaths indicates that certain policies and programs put in place at the federal, state, and local levels have had an impact,” said Kenneth Warren, acting director of the NIAAA.

When it comes to drunk driving, the report found that underage drinkers in states with strict licensing laws are half as likely to drive drunk. The laws cited by the report as effective include strict alcohol-related license suspensions underage drinkers, nighttime driving restrictions for young drivers, and graduated driver licensing.

“While progress has been made in addressing underage drinking, the consequences still remain unacceptably high," said Ralph Hingson, first author of the report and the director of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the NIAAA. "We must continue research to develop new interventions and implement existing strategies that have been shown to be effective.”