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Legislation to reauthorize effort to curb underage drinking

October 5, 2010
by Press Release
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Washington, DC — Furthering the effort to curb underage drinking in our country, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-34) introduced bipartisan legislation today to reauthorize and bolster federal underage drinking prevention programs under the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act.

Congresswoman Roybal-Allard was joined by Congressman Zach Wamp (R, TN-3), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D, CT-3), and Congressman Frank Wolf (R, VA-10.) U.S. Senator Chris Dodd (CT) plans to introduce the identical companion bill.

“We need to reinvigorate our message about the impacts of youth alcohol abuse and take the next steps in federal underage drinking prevention efforts,” Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard said. “The investment called for by the STOP Act reauthorization is a cost-effective strategy to reduce the estimated $53 billion toll on our nation each year from the suffering and death caused by underage drinking.”

In 2006, the 109th Congress passed the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act authored by Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. The legislation authorized: the establishment of an interagency coordinating committee to address underage drinking; a parent-focused media campaign; federal research on underage drinking prevention; and the creation of community grants to fight underage drinking.

“Four years after the passage of the STOP Act, communities are getting involved and parents are hearing the message. But despite local successes and improved federal coordination and research, alcohol remains the primary drug of choice among our youth. In 2009, about 10.4 million, or 27.2 percent of teens aged 12 to 20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Approximately 6.9 million of these were binge drinkers, and 2.1 million were heavy drinkers,” Congresswoman Roybal-Allard said. “The original STOP Act was a bipartisan and bicameral effort to address the public health crisis of underage drinking. We must pass this STOP Act reauthorization to ensure that this landmark public health initiative continues.”

The STOP Act reauthorization (HR 6241) will continue the programs begun with the original STOP Act, and will build upon these public health efforts by:

• Doubling the original investment in a multimedia campaign to educate parents and communities about the dangers of underage drinking;
• Authorizing an Institute of Medicine report on the literature about the influence of drinking alcohol on the development of the adolescent brain; and
• Establishing grants to train pediatric health care providers in how best to screen and treat children and teens who have had alcohol exposures.

For her efforts to combat underage drinking, Congresswoman Roybal-Allard has been honored by leading national organizations dedicated to curbing underage drinking, including MADD, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD), the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, the Century Council, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.