NAS Report: Sample Letter to your Congressmember

NAS Report Action Resources




Dear Senator/Representative ____________:


As a constituent of yours, I urge you to closely review and act upon a new National Academy of Sciences report to Congress on underage drinking.  The report, prepared by many of the nation's top public health researchers, provides a long-overdue evidence-based roadmap to finally get serious about tackling the nation's number-one youth drug problem.


Approximately 11 million American youth under the age of 21 drink alcohol, nearly half of them drink heavily (downing five or more per occasion).  An estimated 3 million teenagers are full blown alcoholics, and several million more have a serious drinking problem.  Alcohol kills six times more youth than all illicit drugs combined, and plays substantial role in the top three causes of teen death (traffic crashes, murder, and suicide).  Those who start drinking before the age of 21 are more likely to be involved in a fight, commit violent crimes, fail at school, use other drugs, experience verbal, physical, or sexual violence, drink and drive, and become alcohol dependent than those who wait to drink legally.


According to the Department of Health and Human Services, prevention efforts are beginning to pay off in declining rates of teen smoking.  However, due to the absence of comparable efforts to combat underage drinking, youth alcohol use continues at alarmingly high rates.


The time has come to end decades of complacency about one of the most devastating and neglected public health problems facing young people and society.  Please do what you can to make sure that this important report gets the attention it deserves, and is acted upon with hearings and legislation.  I specifically urge you to:

  • Support legislation to establish a national media campaign on underage drinking aimed at instilling a broad societal commitment to reduce underage drinking;

  • Reject legislation to reduce Federal excise taxes on beer (H.R. 1305, S. 809) and/or liquor (H.R. 2950, S. 1457);

  • Support alcohol advertising reforms aimed at reducing youth exposure to alcohol promotion, as well as closer Federal monitoring and reporting on alcohol advertising practices.

Thank you for considering this request.  I look forward to hearing from you soon.


[Your Name]
[Your Address]


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