Although the minimum
legal drinking age is 21 years, alcohol use by youth continues to be a
major problem in the United States. Alcohol consumption can interfere
with adolescent brain development, and use of alcohol early in life is
associated with future alcohol-related problems.
The new policy
statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “Alcohol Use by Youth and Adolescents: A Pediatric Concern
,” published in the May
issue of Pediatrics
(published online April 12), describes
risk factors that contribute to youth alcohol use, including
having friends who use alcohol, tobacco, or other substances; patterns
of use in communities in which alcohol and other drugs are less
expensive and easily attainable; and exposure to alcohol advertising.
Specific recommendations on management tools and treatment programs
will be available in a forthcoming statement from the AAP on substance
use screening, intervention, and referral for treatment.
recommend additional research into the prevention, screening and
identification, brief intervention and management and treatment of
alcohol and other substance use by adolescents continues to be needed
to improve evidence-based practices.
The American Academy of
Pediatrics is an organization of 60,000 primary care pediatricians,
pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists
dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children,
adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org.