With children drinking more heavily at a younger age, the nation should impose higher taxes on alcohol and place new restrictions on advertising to battle the epidemic, a new report said Wednesday.
The study by the federal Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council estimates that youth drinking costs the United States about $53 billion a year from traffic accidents, fatalities and violence, according to an account in the Orlando Sentinel.
Yet the government spent $71 million to prevent underage drinking in 2000 — a paltry amount compared to the $1.8 billion spent to deter youth from illegal drugs.
Alcohol is the most abused drug in the country, and the number of children trying alcoholic beverages before they reach age 18 has doubled in the past decade. About 4.1 million kids younger than 18 tried alcohol in 2000.