Get Addiction Help (888) 804-0917

Surgeon General’s Call To Action

The Surgeon General’s Call To Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking, 2007

At a March 6, 2007 news conference, Acting U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth P. Moritsugu issued the Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking, appealing to the Nation to do more to stop current underage drinkers from using alcohol, and to keep other young people from starting.  In this first Call to Action addressing underage drinking, Dr. Moritsugu laid out recommendations for government and school officials, parents, other adults, and young people.  “Too many Americans consider underage drinking a rite of passage to adulthood.  Research shows that young people who start drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to have alcohol-related problems later in life.  Alcohol remains the most heavily abused substance by America’s youth.  This Call to Action is attempting to change the culture and attitudes toward drinking in America. We can no longer ignore what alcohol is doing to our children,” said Dr. Moritsugu.

Developed in collaboration with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the Call to Action identifies six goals that:Foster changes in society that facilitate healthy adolescent development and help prevent and reduce underage drinking;

  • Foster changes in society that facilitate healthy adolescent development and help prevent and reduce underage drinking;
  • Engage parents, schools and communities, all levels of government, all social systems that interface with youth, and youth themselves in a national effort to prevent and reduce underage drinking and its consequences;
  • Promote an understanding of underage alcohol consumption in the context of human development and maturation that takes into account individual adolescent characteristics as well as environmental, ethnic, cultural, and gender differences;
  • Conduct additional research on adolescent alcohol use and its relationship to development;
  • Work to improve public health surveillance on underage drinking and on population-based risk factors for this behavior; and
  • Work to ensure that policies at all levels are consistent with the national goal of preventing and reducing underage alcohol consumption.

Leadership Foundation Response

Leadership Co-Chair Mary Easley, First Lady of North Carolina, and Leadership Foundation board member Michele Ridge, former First Lady of Pennsylvania, spoke at the March 6 news conference, lauding the new report, and promising that Governors’ spouses and representatives around the country will use it to mobilize people in their States.

Leadership’s goal is to work with this Surgeon General and future Surgeon Generals to highlight prevention of childhood drinking. To accomplish this goal, Leadership is holding news conferences and town meetings focused on the Call to Action, giving speeches and writing articles on childhood drinking, and working with State and local lawmakers to find effective ways to deny children access to alcohol, promote research and treatment programs, and other activities.

For more information, see the Surgeon General’s website:
For information on the Interagency Coordinating Council on Prevention of Underage Drinking, see: