DearColleague.us

Letter

From: The Honorable Lucille Roybal-Allard
Sent By: Debbie.Jessup@mail.house.gov
Bill: H.R. 1717
Date: 3/31/2016

Dear Colleague,

In 2006, Congress passed the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act with unanimous bipartisan and bicameral support to address the public health crisis of underage drinking.  Ten years after the passage of the STOP Act, it is clear that its comprehensive approach is making a difference: According to the 2015 Monitoring the Future survey, alcohol use by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders are at their lowest levels in decades.

 

Despite this progress, however, underage drinking remains a persistent public health and safety problem.  In 2014, about 8.7 million, or 22.8% of youth aged 12 to 20, reported drinking alcohol in the past month, and 5.3 million (13.8%) reported binge drinking. Alcohol is related to the three leading causes of death among 15 to 20 year-olds (motor vehicle crashes, homicide and suicide) and continues to cause 4,300 deaths each year among youth under age 21. This means that, on average, every day we lose 11 young people because of alcohol use.

 

We need to reinvigorate our message about the effects of youth alcohol abuse and take the next steps in federal underage drinking prevention efforts.  This is critical to the future of our children since we know that if drinking is delayed until age 21, a child’s risk of serious alcohol related problems is decreased by 70%.

 

H.R. 1717, the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Reauthorization Act,  continues the successful programs begun with the 2006 STOP Act, including a federal interagency coordinating committee that sends Congress an annual report summarizing all federal agency activities related to this serious issue. The law also finances public health research, a national media campaign, and federal grant programs to help communities, colleges, and universities work through coalitions to implement comprehensive strategies that will prevent and reduce underage drinking.

 

The reauthorization bill complements these existing programs with new grants to train pediatric health care providers in the best practices for screening and treating adolescent substance abuse – all while staying within the original funding levels.  The investment called for by the STOP Act reauthorization is a proven, cost-effective strategy to reduce the $24 billion toll that results from underage drinking.

 

Please join us as cosponsors in this effort to reauthorize the Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking Act.  For more information, or to become a cosponsor, please contact Debbie Jessup (debbie.jessup@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Roybal-Allard’s office or Justin Rusk (justin.rusk@mail.house.gov) in Rep. Fitzpatrick’s office.

 

Sincerely,

 

LUCILLE ROYBAL-ALLARD

Member of Congress

 

MICHAEL FITZPATRICK

Member of Congress

ROSA DeLAURO

Member of Congress