In the UK 15 to 16 year olds have one of the highest rates of heavy drinking in Europe. Expert guidance and recent reviews have called for research to identify a ‘gold standard’ for assessing the drinking behaviour of those under the age of 18. I describe a systematic review conducted to address this important research need. Initial findings show that three quarters of included validation studies have been conducted in the USA and there are more validation studies of screening instruments than assessment measures. Also there is much scope for improving the quality of existing validation studies. This talk will explore possible directions for research to produce age appropriate, reliable and valid screening and assessment measures.