Rep. Roybal-Allard hails enactment of STOP Underage Drinking Act

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Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40) and other leaders in the fight against underage drinking celebrated the reauthorization of her Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act as part of the 21st Century Cures Act, which has been signed into law by President Obama. The original STOP Act, a law to address the epidemic problem of underage drinking in America, passed Congress unanimously in 2006. The law was based on recommendations by the Institute of Medicine, and represented an unprecedented collaboration between that advocacy community and all segments of the alcohol beverage industry. Authorization for the law expired in 2010, though the government has continued to fund the bill’s programs in subsequent years. The reauthorization of the STOP Act ensures that this funding will remain in place for five more years.

“The STOP Act’s reauthorization is an important victory in our nation’s fight against underage drinking,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. “Ten years after the STOP Act was first passed, it is clear that the act has played a critical role in supporting federal, family, and community efforts to curb underage alcohol use. However, while STOP has helped reduce underage drinking, our work is not yet done. Underage alcohol consumption in the United States remains a widespread and persistent public health and safety problem, killing 4,300 youth under age 21 each year. Reauthorizing STOP for five more years will help America continue its progress towards defeating this deadly scourge.”

“Community Anti-Drug Coalitions is immensely pleased that Congress has reauthorized the STOP Act,” said Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Chairman and CEO General Arthur T. Dean. “We are deeply thankful for the leadership of Congresswoman Roybal-Allard on this issue, as well as for the momentous efforts of our partner organizations within the National Alliance to Prevent Underage Drinking who helped in this effort. CADCA is particularly excited to see that the community-based enhancement grants have been reauthorized, because we know that these are the most cost-effective, efficient, and successful grants to prevent and reduce underage drinking. Reauthorization of the STOP Act marks a tremendous step forward in Congress’s response to tackling underage drinking, and the bill’s comprehensive national response will be absolutely vital to making all of our communities safe, healthy, and drug-free.”

“Alcohol is the most widely abused substance among adolescents, making the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act absolutely critical to protecting future generations from the negative consequences of alcohol use,” said American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) President Benard P. Dreyer, MD, FAAP. “Pediatricians understand the importance of prevention, and the new grant program included in the legislation to train pediatric providers in screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment will play a crucial role in effectively addressing underage drinking and other substance abuse disorders as soon as possible. The American Academy of Pediatrics, a supporter of the STOP Act since its inception, is especially grateful to Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard for her continued dedication to protecting the nation’s youth from underage drinking, and we call on Congress to dedicate sufficient funding for this important legislation.”

The reauthorization of STOP includes the STOP Act Grant Program, which provides community coalitions with the funds to strengthen collaboration and coordination in their communities in order to prevent and reduce alcohol use among youth and young adults. Another important element of the act is the federal Interagency Coordinating Committee, which brings together high-level leadership from 15 federal agencies to coordinate federal efforts to prevent and reduce underage drinking, and to send Congress an annual report summarizing all federal agency activities related to this serious issue. The STOP Act reauthorization also finances an Ad Council national media campaign directed at parents, and crucial research on the health effects of underage drinking.

The STOP Act has played a substantial role in reducing underage drinking. According to a 2015 Monitoring the Future study, lifetime alcohol use by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders is at its lowest level in the study’s history. Binge drinking among 12th graders has fallen to 17.2%, 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 74.9% of 10th graders and 53.6% of 8th graders say it is easy to obtain alcohol.