Rep. Roybal-Allard Introduces STOP Act Reauthorization to Prevent Underage Drinking
Today, in conjunction with the beginning of Alcohol Awareness Month, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) announced that she has introduced H.R. 1717, a bill to reauthorize her Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act. Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-08), Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), and 38 other original co-sponsors joined Congresswoman Roybal-Allard in introducing the STOP Act reauthorization bill.
Congresswoman Roybal-Allard’s original STOP Act became law in 2006, after passing Congress with broad bipartisan and bicameral support. The legislation addressed the epidemic problem of underage drinking in America. It was based on recommendations by the National Alliance to Prevent Underage Drinking (NAPUD), and represented an unprecedented collaboration between that advocacy community and all segments of the alcohol beverage industry. Authorization for the law expired in 2010. The STOP Act reauthorization bill continues and enhances the policies contained in the original STOP Act, while also adding new prevention, screening, and intervention provisions.
“The programs in the original STOP Act have been successful in helping to reduce America’s underage drinking rate, but we still have more work to do,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. “Alcohol remains the most popular drug among our nation’s young people. It is critical that we reauthorize the STOP Act so that we can continue the good work accomplished by this important and effective legislation.”
“The future of America is largely dependent on the ability of young people to make decisions that will help keep them healthy and safe,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “The STOP Act has helped minors across the country make smart decisions. It needs to be reauthorized so we can continue to build on the progress we have made since 2006. I am proud to join Congresswoman Roybal-Allard as a cosponsor of this important legislation.”
“Underage alcohol use can harm families and young lives – in doing so, it is taking a toll on our future,” said Congressman Fitzpatrick. “As a parent, I see first-hand the pressures our children face – our communities need tools to educate young people and adequate resources to curb underage drinking. By working together and supporting the STOP Act we can put in place collaborative prevention strategies, response policies and best practices at every level.”
“Even with major reductions in underage drinking, alcohol is still the number one drug of choice among youth,” said General Arthur T. Dean, Chairman and CEO of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). “Coalitions throughout the country consistently point to problems associated with underage drinking as one of the top challenges they are working to effectively address in their communities. The STOP Act Community-based Coalition Enhancement grant program is a very cost effective mechanism to prevent, and reduce the rate of underage alcohol consumption at the local level while attaining maximum results.”
“Underage drinking poses the risk of immediate, devastating consequences and the potential for long-term negative health effects among our children and adolescents,” said Dr. Sandra G. Hassink, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). “By continuing the important work of the STOP Act, this legislation will help reduce underage drinking and its harmful effects, and allow pediatricians and other healthcare providers to offer needed alcohol use screening and intervention to adolescents. As a supporter of the STOP Act since its inception, the American Academy of Pediatrics is proud to continue to support this critical effort and thanks Representatives Roybal-Allard, Fitzpatrick, and DeLauro for their leadership on this issue.”
According to the 2014 Monitoring the Future study, lifetime alcohol use by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders is at the lowest levels for those grades in the study’s history. Binge drinking among 12th graders has fallen below 20%, down from a peak of 31.5% in 1998. Despite this progress, youth alcohol consumption remains a widespread and persistent health problem: alcohol still ranks as the number one drug of choice for young people, and 77% of 10th graders and 56% of 8th graders say it is easy to obtain alcohol.
H.R. 1717, the STOP Act reauthorization bill, takes many important and substantive steps to curb youth alcohol consumption. Notably, the bill:
• Coordinates federal agencies’ efforts to combat underage drinking, and continues federal research and data collection on the issue.
• Modifies and enhances the national media campaign urging adults to help prevent underage drinking.
• Reauthorizes the extremely successful Community Based Coalition Enhancement grants to current and former Drug Free Communities grantees.
• Modifies the original STOP Act to provide grants to community-based coalitions to partner with higher education institutions.
• Provides new grants to assist pediatric provider organizations in educating pediatric health care providers on best practices for screening adolescents for alcohol use, offering adolescents brief interventions to discourage drinking, referring them to other care when needed, and working with their parents.