Welcome to the California Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs

Underage Drinking Prevention Workgroup

Although the minimum legal drinking age is 21, alcohol use by youth and the adverse consequences associated with underage drinking continue to be a major problem in California. The Underage Drinking Prevention Workgroup is dedicated to supporting local efforts to reduce underage drinking.

The Underage Drinking Prevention Workgroup is facilitated by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control and meets one to two times per quarter.

Workgroup Projects

Alcoholic Energy Drinks and "Supersized" Alcopops

As of March 2011, 14 States have followed up the FDAís ban of specific AEDs with bills proposing a complete ban on the products and 10 States have issued administrative bans.

The Marin Institute has developed a model AED ban bill. Go to www.marininstitute.org for more information.

"Supersized" Alcopop Containers: Stopping this latest "innovation" in alcopop marketing
Four Loko, Joose and other AED producers created the "binge drinking in a can" or supersized container for their products: 23.5 oz with 12% alcohol. Although the caffeine is now being removed from these products, the new containers are becoming the new norm for alcopops. Anheuser-Busch (Tilt) and Miller (Sparks) are now available (without caffeine and other stimulants) in similar containers and similar alcohol content. Many other products are coming on the market. Four Loko has recently announced a whole new line of non-caffeinated flavors in the large containers.

These containers have the equivalent of 4-5 standard drinks of alcohol. Drinking one can will therefore result in legal intoxication for most drinkers. The cans are designed as single servings, so are designed to promote heavy drinking.

The GPAC Underage Drinking Prevention workgroup in partnership with ADP and the Attorney Generalís Office produced a website to increase awareness about the health and safety risks associated with Alcoholic Energy Drinks and "Supersized" Alcopop Containers. Visit http://www.adp.ca.gov/youth/aed_index.shtml to learn more.

Town Hall Meetings

The Town Hall Meetings provide an opportunity for communities to learn more about new research on underage drinking, and to discuss how their community can best prevent underage alcohol use. These Town Hall Meetings are designed to alert and empower the community as well as generate interest from the media.

The GPAC Underage Drinking Prevention Workgroup encourages youth-led Town Hall Meetings. Young people can have significant roles in planning and implementing the meetings. For more information on youth development programs that actively plan and coordinate Town Hall Meetings on Underage Drinking visit:

2010 Town Hall Meetings on Underage Drinking in California: Successes, Barriers and Lessons Learned
Friday Night Live
Youth Leadership Institute

Who Can Participate in a Town Hall Meeting?

Anyone can! Since underage drinking is a critical health and safety issue, it is important to involve representatives from the entire community, including parents, youth, educators, substance abuse professionals, health care professionals, justice/law enforcement, highway safety personnel, alcohol control, local government and business. Information about how to find others in your area who may be interested in creating a Town Hall Meeting is included in the Town Hall Meeting Planning Box.

2012 Town Hall Meeting Planning Box

To help address the problem of underage drinking, Town Hall Meetings are taking place in more than 50 communities throughout California in 2012 as part of a national effort to increase the understanding of underage drinking and its consequences, and to encourage individuals, families and communities to address the problem.

To find the locations of meetings taking place in your community visit:

Town Hall Meetings 2012

Below please find links to information included in toolkits disseminated to local organizations throughout California to aid in the preparation of their Town Hall Meetings:

Access the downloadable Town Hall Meeting Toolkit below:

The Underage Drinking Prevention Workgroup works to develop resources for youth, parents, and educators about underage drinking. The following resources were created by the workgroup and are available through ADPís Resource Center.

Welcome Letter from the California Underage Drinking Prevention Workgroup
Town Hall Meeting Preparation Timeline
Town Hall Meeting Agenda Template
Town Hall Meeting Adult Questions
Prevalence of Binge Drinking in Past 30 Days Among In-School Youth
My Prevention Community Access Guide
Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies (TRACE) fact sheet
Youth Alcohol Laws Ė Choose Not to Drink
Tips for Parents Toolkit
Tips for Parents (In Spanish)
Alcoholic Energy Drinks (One-pagers)
Resource Center "Beware Posters"
Youth Alcohol Laws Trifold

Make a Difference: Talk to Your Child About Alcohol
Make a Difference: Talk to Your Child About Alcohol (In Spanish)
Suspect Your Teen is Using Drugs or Drinking? A Brief Guide to Action for Parents (In English/Spanish)

Town Hall Meeting Tools Video

To order these materials, or additional resources, visit ADPís Resource Center at:

Resource Center

Amethyst Initiative

According to federal law, the minimum legal drinking age is 21. The GPAC Underage Drinking Prevention Workgroup supports current law.

The workgroup has designed a "one-pager" to raise awareness about the Amethyst Initiative Ė an initiative to reduce the minimum legal drinking age to 18.

Amethyst Initiative PDF

Other Programs to combat underage drinking

ABC website for TRACE, and other ABC educational prevention programs, etc.

Social Host Laws

Some parents provide alcohol to minors at parties or fail to see the problems associated with alcohol use among youth. In California, there is a statewide Social Host Law. In addition, many communities throughout California have Social Host Ordinances in place.

Social Host Ordinances hold adults who knowingly serve alcohol to minors liable for injury or death resulting from underage drinking.

If you're a parent who believes that underage drinking is a right of passage Ė think again! Adults may be held responsible if minors who get alcohol from an adult:

  • Get into a fight and hurt someone
  • Fall and hurt themselves or someone else
  • Sexually assault someone
  • Damage property
  • Die from drinking too much
  • Injure or kill someone while driving after leaving the party

In California, many of the community Town Hall Meetings on Underage Drinking have increased awareness on the problem of underage drinking. Some Town Halls have prompted the passage of local Social Host Ordinances.

Interested in passing a Social Host Ordinance in your community? Click here to access a "Model Social Host Liability Ordinance"