WASHINGTON, DC – This past week, Congressman Dave Joyce (OH-14) and Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) joined Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-30) in introducing a bill to reauthorize the Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking (STOP) Act.
“Underage drinking, and the suffering and death it can cause, continues to be a serious problem in communities across the country,” said Congressman Joyce. “In 2021, over 46% of high school seniors reported using alcohol and the CDC estimates that 3,500 Americans under the age of 21 die from excessive drinking every single year. Not to mention the fact that those who begin using alcohol before the age of 15 are four times more likely to meet the criteria for alcohol dependence later in life. That’s why I’m joining Congresswoman Roybal-Allard in leading the bipartisan effort to reauthorize the STOP Act so that this historic public health initiative can continue to combat underage drinking and save lives.”
Underage drinking is a major contributor to the four leading causes of deaths among 15- to 20-year-olds and costs the United States $24.3 billion per year in healthcare costs, lost labor and productivity, and related consequences such as crimes, car accidents and fetal alcohol syndrome. Additionally, college students continue to drink and suffer alcohol-related consequences at alarming levels. More than 1,500 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries each year, and nine percent of college students meet the diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder. Underage drinking also contributes to declining academic performance, as youth who use alcohol may remember 10% less of what they have learned than those who don’t drink.
“Since 2006, the interventions in the STOP Act have helped bring past alcohol use by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders to the lowest levels in thirty years,” said Congresswoman Roybal-Allard. “Yet, alcohol remains the most popular drug of use, and the most prevalent substance of misuse among our nation’s youth. It is of utmost importance for Congress to reauthorize the STOP Act in order to maintain and enhance the important and effective work that this legislation has made possible.”
“I am proud to join Congresswoman Roybal-Allard in introducing this legislation to reauthorize the bipartisan, bicameral STOP Act,” said Congresswoman DeLauro. “Since this legislation first passed in 2006, this program has been a success. From promoting better public health monitoring and surveillance of underage drinking to supporting community action to prevent factors that contribute to it, the STOP Act has helped us make progress in tackling underage drinking. As Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, I am pleased we were able to increase funding for this program in the recently passed federal spending package. This legislation must be reauthorized so we can continue to build on the progress we have made and build the safest future possible for our children.”
Specifically, this reauthorization maintains and enhances the four areas of policy development contained in the original STOP Act, including:
- Coordinating federal underage drinking prevention efforts;
- A national adult–oriented media campaign;
- Grants to community-based prevention coalitions; and
- Research and data collection on underage drinking.