PreventionResourceCenter_YouthDrinkRatesUSvsEU-1 - U.S....

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Introduction Among Americans there is a commonly held perception that American young people drink more frequently and ex- perience more alcohol-related problems than do their Euro- pean counterparts. This perception, in turn, is often utilized as argument for various changes in U.S. alcohol policies and prevention initiatives, including elimination of mini- mum drinking age laws and development of programs that teach “responsible” drinking to young people. Do European young people drink less and experience fewer problems than their American counterparts? Until recently data did not exist to easily answer this question, but new re- search demonstrates that this is not the case. In fact, in com- parison with young people in the United States, m A greater percentage of young people from nearly all European countries report drinking in the past 30 days; m For a majority of these European countries, a greater percentage of young people report having five of more drinks in a row; and m A great majority of the European countries have higher intoxication rates among young people than the United States and less than a quarter had lower rates or equivalent rates to the United States. Based on this analysis, the comparison of drinking rates and alcohol-related problems among young people in the United States and in European countries does not provide support for elimination of U.S. minimum drinking age laws or for the implementation of programs to teach responsible drink- ing to young people. Do young people from Europe drink more responsibly than do young people from the United States? This question is important because it often is raised in the context of the stricter minimum drinking age laws in the United States. Although the implementation of the uniform minimum drinking age of 21 and the more recent enactment of zero tolerance laws have reduced drinking by young peo- Levenson, 2002; Hingson, Heeren, & Winter, 1994; Voas, Tippetts, & Fell, 1999; Wagenaar & Toomey, 2002; Har- under attack as contributing to irresponsible styles of drink- ing (e.g., Hanson, 1990; Engs, 2001; Ford, 2002; Hanson, 2002; Hanson, 2004; NYRA, 2002). Commonly, European countries are held up as examples of where more liberal drinking age laws and attitudes, in turn, may foster more re- sponsible styles of drinking by young people. It often is as- serted that alcohol is more integrated into European, especially southern European, culture and that young peo- ple there learn to drink at younger ages within the context of the family. As a result, it is further asserted that young Europeans learn to drink more responsibly than do young people from the United States. This report addresses the question of whether young people
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This note was uploaded on 02/28/2010 for the course SOCY SOCY - 203 taught by Professor Brianhawkins during the Spring '10 term at University of Colombo.

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PreventionResourceCenter_YouthDrinkRatesUSvsEU-1 - U.S....

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