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May 28, 2003

Approaches to Reducing Consumption of Alcohol by Youth

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Stephen J. Lurie, MD, PhD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2003;289(20):2645. doi:10.1001/jama.289.20.2645-a

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

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