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This brief describes the prevalence of underage drinking in Nebraska and its associated outcomes, as well as state policies pertinent to underage drinking and evidence-based strategies that can prevent underage drinking. We defined underage drinking as alcohol consumption by persons younger than 21 years. In 2010, Nebraska’s underage drinking costs, including medical care, work loss, and pain and suffering, totaled more than an estimated $423 million, which translates to a cost of $2,309 per year for each youth in Nebraska or $2.92 per drink. Underage customers consumed about a quarter of all alcohol sold in Nebraska. In a ranking of states based on the alcohol percentage consumed by youth, with 1 being the highest, Nebraska ranked fifth. Nebraska policy makers should strongly consider the following state-level policies: increasing taxes on alcohol products, prohibiting youth exposure to alcohol advertising, limiting access to excessive drinking by maintaining limits on days of sale and hours of sale, maintaining and upholding the integrity of the minimum legal drinking age laws, and expanding dram shop liability laws. Cities should study innovative methods of regulating alcohol outlets that balance commerce and protection of citizens. Both local municipalities and the state government should ensure there are sufficient resources available to enforce existing and new underage drinking laws.

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University of Nebraska Medical Center Center for Health Policy




Public Health

Underage Drinking in Nebraska

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