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Underage and Binge Drinking

Compiled by Patricia Helgerson, August 2006

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A simple definition of binge drinking is having five or more drinks on one occasion. Underage drinking, binge drinking, and the risky behaviors associated with them are a concern for parents, educators, and lawmakers. The following is a sampling of recent publications and Web sites on underage and binge drinking statistics, studies, related problems, and prevention policies.

Alcohol Beverage Laws for Retailers: Underage Alcohol Questions / Wisconsin Department of Revenue, last updated January 3, 2006. www.dor.state.wi.us/faqs/ise/atundrg.html

"Alcohol Use by Persons Under the Legal Drinking Age of 21" / U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, The NHSDA Report, May 9, 2003. http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k3/UnderageDrinking/UnderageDrinking.htm

"Binge Drinking and Alcohol-Related Problems Among Community College Students: Implications for Prevention Policy" / Felicia D. Sheffield [et al.], Journal of American College Health, November/December 2004, v.54, no.3, p.137-141. (377.4/Sh3) The age, ethnic, and gender diversity at a two-year community college is different than at a traditional four-year institution. This study shows that binge drinking rates differ as well.

"College Student Binge Drinking and the `Prevention Paradox': Implications for Prevention and Harm Reduction" / Elissa R. Weitzman and Toben F. Nelson, Journal on Drug Education, 2004, v.34, no.3, p.247-265. (377.4/W43) The heaviest drinkers are at greatest risk for harm, but are only a small percentage of all drinkers. Implications on prevention efforts are explored. www.hsph.harvard.edu/cas/Documents/paradox

The Commercial Value of Underage and Pathological Drinking to the Alcohol Industry / Columbia University, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, May 2006. (178.31/C72) Of $128.6 billion spent on alcohol in the U.S. in 2001, $10.5 billion (8.2%) was spent by underage abusive and dependent drinkers (pathological drinkers). www.casacolumbia.org/Absolutenm/articlefiles/380-commercial_value_alcohol_white_paper.pdf

Drinking in America: Myths, Realities, and Prevention Policy / U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, [2004?]. (178/X) "Underage drinkers consume about 11 percent of all the alcohol purchased in the United States in 2002 ...." Article also explores social norms and effective policy strategies. www.udetc.org/documents/Drinking_in_America.pdf

"Drinking Too Much, Too Young" / Garry Boulard, State Legislatures, April 2005, p.12-15. (328.11/N214/2005/v.31/no.4) High school and college-age drinking has decreased; however, the number of related deaths has remained constant. This article looks at advertising, education, and legislative policies.

"The Economics of Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol-Control Policies" / Philip J. Cook and Michael J. Moore, Health Affairs, March/April 2002, p.120-133. (614.23/P94/2002/v.21/no.2) "[C]onsumers tend to drink less ethanol, and have fewer alcohol-related problems, when alcoholic beverage prices are increased or alcohol availability is restricted."-Abstract

An Impact Evaluation of Underage Drinking Prevention Projects / U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Office of Research and Traffic Records, November 2003. (178.31/X5) Underage drinking prevention programs in Virginia, Nebraska, Utah, and Texas were evaluated for their impact on highway safety. www.nhtsa.dot.gov/people/injury/research/UnderageDrinkingPrevent/

"Metropolitan-Area Estimates of Binge Drinking in the United States" / David E. Nelson [et al.], American Journal of Public Health, April 2004, v.94, no.4, p.663-671. (178.8/N33) Milwaukee-Waukesha area ranked second highest in the Midwest and third highest of all the regions surveyed. Data from 1997 and 1999.

National Survey on Drug Use & Health / U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies, 2004. Chapter 3 is Alcohol Use. Includes many statistics, maps, charts, and state comparisons. Formerly called the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse. www.oas.samhsa.gov/p0000016.htm

Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility / National Research Council, Committee on Developing a Strategy to Reduce and Prevent Underage Drinking, 2004. (178.31/N21) "...Congress asked the National Academies to develop a strategy for reducing and preventing underage drinking. ... At the center of the committee's strategy ... is the judgment that parents and adults must be the main target of a strategy to reduce and prevent underage drinking." - Preface

Regulatory Strategies for Preventing Youth Access to Alcohol: Best Practices / U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, 1999. (178.31/X6) Regulations are divided into three categories: commercial availability, social/public availability, and youth possession. Twenty-two "best practices" are listed, including state or community examples. www.udetc.org/documents/accesslaws.pdf

"The Scope of the Problem" / Alcohol Research and Health, 2004/2005, v.28, no.3, p.111-120. (178.31/Sco3) "[S]ummarizes research on the epidemiology of youth drinking, including the consequences of youthful drinking, risk and protective factors and drinking trajectories, and information on special populations at particular risk for drinking-related problems." - Abstract

"The State Sets the Rate: The Relationship Among State-Specific College Binge Drinking, State Binge Drinking Rates, and Selected State Alcohol Control Policies" / Toben F. Nelson [et al.], American Journal of Public Health, March 2005, v.95, no.3, p.441-446. (377.4/N33) In assessing collected data, the authors conclude that state of residence can be a predictor of binge drinking, and state-level alcohol control policies may help reduce it.

"Underage Drinking: A Major Public Health Challenge" / National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Alcohol Alert, April 2003, no.59. (178.31/N212) Summarizes the injury and social consequences of underage alcohol use and some prevention and treatment strategies. http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa59.pdf

Underage Drinking in the United States: A Status Report / Georgetown University, Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. (178.31/G29/2005) Examines the scope and consequences of underage drinking, youth access to alcohol and how to prevent it, how alcohol appeals to youth and the influence of alcohol advertising, and promising prevention approaches. http://camy.org/research/status0306/status0306.pdf

Wisconsin Youth Risk Behavior Survey / Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, 2005. Results of a biennial survey completed by public high school students. Data from 1993, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003, and 2005 are compared. http://dpi.wi.gov/sspw/yrbsindx.html

Related Web Sites

www.alcoholpolicy.niaaa.nih.gov - Alcohol Policy Information System. "State Profiles of Underage Drinking Laws" includes comparison maps and legal citations. "Highlight of Underage Drinking" lists 11 policy topics.

www.beerinstitute.org - Beer Institute. Information available includes Advertising and Marketing Code, Programs for the College Campus, and Government Affairs.

http://camy.org - Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University. Monitors the marketing practices of the alcohol industry.

www.hsph.harvard.edu/cas - Harvard School of Public Health, College Alcohol Study. Links to several articles on college binge drinking.

www.marininstitute.org - The Marin Institute. "[A]n alcohol industry watchdog and a resource for solutions to community alcohol problems."

www.niaaa.nih.gov/AboutNIAAA/NIAAASponsoredPrograms/underage.htm - National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. "Initiative on Underage Drinking" page.

www.statemaster.com/graph/hea_alc_con_bin_dri-health-alcohol-consumption-binge-drinkers - StateMaster.com. Health statistics on binge drinkers in the 50 states, District of Columbia, and U.S. Virgin Islands. Wisconsin ranks #1.

www.sadd.org/stats.htm - Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD). Underage drinking statistics.

www.udetc.org/UnderageDrinkingCosts.asp - Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center. "Underage Drinking Costs." Fact sheets for each state in pdf format available.

www.higheredcenter.org - U.S. Department of Education, Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention.

www.oas.samhsa.gov/alcohol.cfm - U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Office of Applied Studies. "Alcohol Use, Binge Drinking, and Dependence" page.

http://pace.uhs.wisc.edu/background.php - University of Wisconsin-Madison. PACE: Reducing the Consequences of High-Risk Drinking. A program funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


(Noncirculating; available for use in the library; clippings prior to 1981 are on microfiche)

  • Alcoholism: 178.8/Z
  • Colleges/universities - Student life: 377.4/W7z; 377.4/Z
  • Liquor - Sale to minors: 178.31/W7z; 178.31/Z

BadgerLink: www.badgerlink.net

Search the ProQuest Newspapers and EBSCOhost magazines databases for full text articles. Suggested search terms: "underage drinking", "binge drinking", and "youth - alcohol use".

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