Surgeon general issues national plan to tackle underage drinking

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 26, 2007

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Acting Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu, MD, MPH, released March 6 the first "Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking" in order to address alcohol consumption by minors.

"Alcohol remains the most heavily abused substance by America's youth," Dr. Moritsugu said. "We can no longer ignore what alcohol is doing to our children."

The report calls for fundamental societal changes that will prevent and reduce drinking by those younger than 21, additional research into the impact of underage drinking on adolescent development, and public health surveillance of this problem.

Underage drinking has long been of concern to physicians. The American Medical Association's Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse has lobbied against running ads for distilled spirits on television and been in favor of reducing alcohol advertising during college sports. It also runs an educational campaign, "A Matter of Degree: The National Effort to Reduce High-Risk Drinking Among College Students," and has sought to educate young people about alcopops.

"Underage drinking is everyone's problem and requires a comprehensive prescription to address the health and societal costs," said AMA Immediate Past President J. Edward Hill, MD.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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