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March 17, 1993

Underage Drinking-Reply

Author Affiliations

The American University Arlington, Va

JAMA. 1993;269(11):1385-1386. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03500110053027

In Reply.  —Dr Callan notes that underage drinking has decreased slightly over the last 10 years (from greater than 93% of high school seniors in 1980 to 88% in 1991). Of course, any reduction is welcome. However, the author seems to have missed the landscape by looking at a leaf. Underage drinking is still a mysterious health problem shrouded in fantasy, hearsay evidence, ignorance, and indifference. Parents, educators, and medical professionals desperately require hard data to answer the many vital questions about underage drinking, especially about what beverages are consumed, the motivations for drinking, the effect of advertising, and how to craft successful interventions. We need comprehensive, accurate, and relevant information. The eight invaluable and illuminating studies by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General,1-8 conducted at the request of Surgeon General Antonia C. Novello, were designed to search out the available data, fill in