Help Promote Real Solutions on Underage Drinking at Town Hall Meeting Events
As part of a federal government
effort to curb underage drinking, the Interagency Coordinating Committee
on the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD)—comprised of 12 federal
agencies—is encouraging states and communities to hold town hall-style
meetings on underage drinking in March 2006. The purpose of the
meetings is to increase the understanding of underage drinking and its
consequences, and to encourage parents, families, and communities to
address the problem. The Town Halls will provide a forum for communities
to discuss how they can best prevent underage alcohol use. Anyone can
participate, including parents, youth, educators, and representatives
from substance abuse prevention, other health entities, justice/law
enforcement, highway safety, alcohol control, local government, and
business. Communities are encouraged to host their Town Hall Meetings on,
or as close as possible to, March 28, 2006, in order to create a national
event that can draw local and national press attention.
The list of communities planning to hold Town Hall meetings is being
continually updated, but a preliminary list can be found on-line at:
Underage Drinking Prevention: Town Hall Meetings
If your community is planning to hold a Town Hall meeting, we strongly urge you to attend and get involved in advocating for community action that will reduce the availability, access, and attractiveness of alcohol to underage youth, in addition to building awareness of the problem. Decades of research clearly shows that education and awareness about the problem are not enough. Real solutions demand community-based strategies such as those recommended by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (NAS/IOM) in its September 2003 report to Congress on underage drinking prevention, including, for example:
In addition to the suggested guidance and materials being provided by government agencies (Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility, ), we have included links
to recommended materials that specifically address environmental
prevention strategies such as those recommend the NAS/IOM. We encourage
you to promote discussion and adoption of such strategies at the Town
Improve enforcement and
effectiveness of underage drinking laws through systematic compliance
checks, mandated server training, enactment or strengthening of local
dram shop liability statutes, and programs to deter adults from providing
or purchasing alcohol for minors.
Increase state and federal excise
taxes on alcoholic beverages to reduce underage consumption and to raise
additional revenues for prevention.
Establish local zoning laws to
control alcohol outlet density (higher outlet density is associated with
increased incidence of driving under the influence, ease of alcohol
purchase and heavy and frequent drinking among youth).
Develop and implement local
ordinances to reduce alcoholic-beverage industry sponsorship of community
events, and signage at youth sports venues and competitions.
To call greater federal attention to
the issue, you may also wish to consider inviting your Members of
Congress to send District/State Office staff to the event and submit a
statement for the Congressional Record in support of the Town Hall
meeting. (Members will not likely be able to attend the events
themselves, as Congress will be in session the week of the Town Hall
meetings). You can call their offices and ask for the scheduler to
find out how to formally place these requests.
Selected On-Line Resources and Down-Loadable Materials on Underage Drinking Prevention Strategies:
Summary of NAS/IOM Report on Underage Drinking Prevention (National
Academy of Sciences, 31pp) (Some states - notably New Hampshire, Florida, and Oregon - have developed state strategies using the NAS report as a guideline)
Join Together's "Get
Serious" Campaign - Petition State officials to "get serious
about alcohol policies that save kids' lives"
Factsheet: Why Raise Taxes To Protect Underage Youth? Evidence Supporting NAS/IOM Recommendations (CSPI, 2pp)
Factbook on State Beer Taxes (CSPI,
Strategizer: Increasing Alcohol Taxes to Fund Programs to Prevent and Treat Youth-Related Alcohol Problems (CADCA & CSPI, 12pp)
Strategizer: Preventing Youth Access to Alcohol from Commerical Sources (CADCA & CSPI, 8pp)
Alcohol Industry 101: Its Structure and Organization (AMA, 36pp)
Partner or Foe? The Alcohol Industry, Youth Alcohol Problems, and Alcohol Policy Strategies (AMA, 16pp)
Underage Drinking Costs (PIRE)
Marin Institute Resources: "Roadmap to Change:
solutions to Community Alcohol Problems"
Factsheet on Adult Accountability
Community Action Kits (and Other Free Reports from FACE)
NHTSA Community "HowTo"
Guide on Prevention
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) is a nonprofit
health-advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., that focuses on nutrition,
food safety, and alcohol policies. It led efforts to obtain warning
labels on alcoholic beverages and is well-known for revealing the nutrition
content of many restaurant foods. CSPI is supported largely by the
800,000 U.S. and Canadian subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter
and by foundation grants.
Updated March 16, 2006