Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie,
MD, PhD, Senior Editor.
In Reply: Mr Walcoff's conclusion that US alcohol
policies have not worked and his suggestion that other countries have a better
approach we should adopt reflects neither the facts nor public opinion.
Several policies have been shown to be effective in reducing the prevalence
and consequences of underage drinking. For example, higher taxes on alcoholic
beverages reduce teen drinking,1 as do interventions
such as compliance checks.2 The National
Highway Transportation and Safety Administration estimates that increasing
the US legal drinking age to 21 years has reduced traffic fatalities involving
drivers aged 18 to 20 years by 13% and has saved an estimated 20 970
lives since 1975.3
Foster SE, Vaughan R. Approaches to Reducing Consumption of Alcohol by Youth. JAMA. 2003;289(20):2645. doi:10.1001/jama.289.20.2645-a