In early 2004, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) launched its Underage Drinking Research Initiative in response to new research findings about the nature and extent of underage drinking in the United States. The goal of NIAAA's initiative is a more complete and integrated scientific understanding of the environmental, biobehavioral, and genetic factors that promote initiation, maintenance, and acceleration of alcohol use among youth, as well as factors that influence the progression to harmful use, abuse, and dependence, framed within the context of overall development. All who participated are confident that increasing understanding of this phenomenon will ultimately serve to enhance prevention and treatment interventions with young people.

As a first step, NIAAA invited a small group of experts to advise Institute staff on the Initiative. After some preliminary telephone conversations, a face-to-face meeting took place on May 14, 2004, when the NIAAA Team on Underage Drinking...

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