Statement of CSPI Alcohol Policies Director George A. Hacker on the Introduction of the "Support 21 Act of 2009"
February 13, 2009
The Center for Science in the Public Interest strongly endorses H.R. 1028, the "Support 21 Act of 2009," introduced today by Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard and Mary Bono-Mack, which would advance the nation's efforts to prevent and reduce underage alcohol use and its devastating consequences.
Age-21 drinking laws have been a major public health and safety success, reducing rates of alcohol use among young people and saving thousands of young lives. However, we know that simply having those laws on the books is not a sufficient response to the enormous drain of underage drinking. Alcohol is the nationís number one youth drug problem, causing 5,000 deaths per year among persons under 21.
Confronting alcohol problems requires a commitment to a comprehensive national prevention strategy. CSPI particularly supports a targeted national media campaign to educate parents about the importance of underage drinking laws and to build support for their enforcement, grant funding to engage pediatric health care providers to reach parents and youth, and expansion of underage-drinking prevention activities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
We congratulate the sponsors for their efforts to address this important youth health and safety concern, and we look forward to working with them and other members of Congress to move the bill toward passage.