In Cuba, alcohol is an important contributor to morbidity, mortality and social problems. The foundation of Cuba's universal primary health care coverage, family doctor-and-nurse offices play a critical role in prevention, early detection and treatment of alcohol abuse. Los Palacios Municipality of the westernmost province of Pinar del Río, Cuba, is a socially complex, periurban area where alcohol abuse and alcoholism have been identified as important health problems. Adolescents constitute a population at high risk for alcohol abuse because of their receptivity to social influences, but the precise extent of the problem is unknown. This paper reports baseline findings from a survey and direct observation of alcohol consumption in the catchment area of a primary care center, conducted to inform planning for an educational intervention.