Battling Underage Drinking

The editorial regarding teenage alcohol consumption, "Drug War's New Front," Feb. 10, states as fact the notion that "use of alcohol among young Americans has held steady." The truth is quite the opposite.

According to official government statistics, underage drinking is now at its lowest level since 1974; accidents involving teenage drunk drivers are down 30 percent since 1982; and despite the author's assertions to the contrary, binge drinking among high school seniors has dropped over 20 percent in the past 10 years.

The editorial also states that "it would help if alcohol products ... were clearly labeled as to the dangers they present." The author should note that since November 1989, a government warning has been required on all containers of alcohol bottled for sale in the United States.

Underage drinking is a serious problem in American society - yet progress has been made. It is essential that we recognize this fact if our successes are to continue. F. A. Meister, Washington, President and CEO, Distilled Spirits Council of the United States

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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