An analysis by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) finds that in 1998 underage drinkers account for approximately 11.4 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the U.S. Regardless of any discrepancies between our analysis of the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse data and that of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), any alcohol use before age 21 is unacceptable and against the law. Underage drinking is indeed a serious problem in the United States. In 1998 about 10.5 million people aged 12 to 20, 30.6 percent of this age group, reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Of these, 5.1 million, 15.2 percent of persons aged 12 to 20, were binge drinkers and 2.3 million, 6.9 percent of persons aged 12 to 20, were heavy drinkers. There are many steps parents can take to help their children make wise decisions about the use of alcohol including maintaining good communication with your child, staying involved in your child’s life, make clear rules and enforce them with consistency and appropriate consequences, be a positive role model, teach your child to choose friends wisely, and monitor your child’s activities. The 1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse and more recent survey findings are available from the SAMHSA web site at Click on statistics and data.