STOP Underage Drinking

As a Member of Congress—as someone who lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident—it is time Congress speak clearly and decisively about reducing underage drinking in our communities.  Congress did just that in passing the STOP (Sober Truth on Preventing) Underage Drinking Act.   This bipartisan, bicameral bill is the first major national legislation to address the public health crisis of underage drinking in our country.  And it has now been sent to the President for his signature.

When this bill becomes law, it will signal that we can do something about everyday young people engaging in behavior that leads to alcoholism.  The average age kids start drinking is 13, and 7 million young people describe themselves as "binge drinkers."  And alcohol plays a role in the 3 leading causes of death among young people.

The STOP Act is a comprehensive bill that will increase resources for drinking prevention coalitions like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, which we know already have a positive impact on teenagers.  It will fund additional research and create a committee that delivers an annual report on the progress we are or are not making.  And it will review alcohol advertisements targeted toward young people.  And lastly, the STOP Act would help us fund a national media campaign directed at adults.  Too often, parents ignore signs in their own children—they refuse to belief their own child could have a problem.  And we need to turn that around.  I am delighted that the STOP Act will now become law.