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Underage Drinking - Who's Responsible?

            Alcoholism is a disease that includes drinking alcoholic beverages at an uncontrollable level where an individual's profession, education, family relationships, or personal safety and health are seriously jeopardized. Today in the United States, a debate about serious health care issues in young adults cannot be completed without discussing underage drinking. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, young adults aged 12 to 20 drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States even though drinking is illegal under the age of 21, "creating negative health, social and economic consequences for adolescents, their families, communities and the nation as a whole" (CDC; Office). The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)'s research, which mainly focuses on the prevention of drunk driving, underage drinking and alcohol abuse, advises that alcohol beverage advertising along with lack of parental guidance and peer pressure is what urges youths to drink alcohol. On the other hand, the alcohol industry, which functions in partnerships with its suppliers and vendors, claims that there is an insufficient evidence to support a relationship between alcohol advertising and alcohol consumption among legal adults or young adults. The NIAAA and the alcohol industry along with the Federal Trade Commission, which reviews alcohol industry efforts to prevent promoting alcohol beverages to underage minors and adults, must work together to invent new ways of gathering alcohol sales data, surveying youths, and then analyzing the data to ensure proper alcohol beverage advertising regulations are established.
             The mission of the NIAAA is to "promote, direct and lead alcohol-related research in biomedical and behavioral science for the treatment and prevention of alcoholism and alcohol-related problems" (About). The NIAAA prioritizes research designed to detect cultural, ethnic and age-group disparities in the causes and consequences of alcohol-related problems, and then develops treatment and prevention tactics to improve them.

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