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Drinking In America: Myths, Realities, and Prevention Policy

NCJ Number
Date Published
8 pages
This article provides information on the drinking patterns of adults and young people in the United States and analyzes their implications for alcohol policy.
Many myths abound in society concerning American alcohol consumption. While it is widely believed that most Americans enjoy drinking on a regular basis, research findings have shown that a large majority of Americans either do not drink or drink infrequently. The article presents statistics showing the alcohol consumption patterns of adults and underage youth, which reveal that a small proportion of adult and young drinkers consume most of the alcohol while most adults and youths abstain from regular alcohol use. The article goes on to charge that current alcohol policies accommodate heavy and hazardous drinking by a small minority of the population, many of whom are underage. Key policy strategies that have either been proven effective or that show promise in reducing alcohol consumption are briefly described and include strategies such as strengthening minimum purchase age laws, restricting alcohol outlets, and curtailing alcohol advertising and promotion. Figures, references