Legislators Seek to Curb Underage Drinking

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With Spring Break and the NCAA Basketball Tournament among us, combating alcohol advertisements and consumption among young persons is a challenge

Tourist spots that have warm sunny beaches and a steady flow of alcohol have been popular destinations for young adults for quite a while during this time of year, it’s called Spring Break. Along with the alcohol comes lowered inhibitions and bad decision-making, which often leads to driving under the influence, violence, promiscuity, and sometimes death.

Underage drinking has come under increased scrutiny lately and rightfully so, due to binge drinking deaths on college campuses, and even a story printed in the New York Times and featured on the Today show regarding what some call the “power hour,” where young people just turning 21 try and consume 21 shots in an hour.

Reckless behavior such as this and the tragic number of alcohol-related traffic fatalities involving young people has led to the introduction of the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act, which seeks to form a coordinated effort in communities and on campuses to prevent and reduce the consumption of alcohol.

In Hawaii, a bill seeks to suspend the driver’s license of any resident caught drinking before the age of 21, whether they are driving a car or not. The suspension would be until the age of 18 or for 90 days, whichever is longer, and a provision to include drug use is being sought as an addition.

“Effective measures are needed in all areas, including reduced media glamorization, more prevention and education, smart law enforcement and legislation as well as effective rehabilitation,” comments Gary Smith, Executive Director of Narconon Arrowhead. The facility is one of the nation’s largest and most successful drug rehabilitation and education programs and uses the drug-free methodology developed by American author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.

U.S. Congressman Tom Osborne (R-Neb.) has also introduced a resolution in Congress asking the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to ban alcohol ads on TV and radio broadcasts of college sporting events. The resolution states that nearly half of the $52 million spent on alcohol advertising during college athletics broadcasts in 2003 was poured into the men’s basketball tournament alone.

Alcoholic beverage companies capitalize on this time of year and promote the dangerous behavior by also sponsoring events at the spring break hot spots, where excessive drinking and lewd behavior is highly promoted. The industry is well aware of the fact that our nation’s young people are a big market for alcohol consumption, which was verified by a study from Columbia University’s National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. This study cited that underage drinking in America amounted to nearly 20% of the total amount consumed (1999), equaling more than $22 billion in sales.

Another result of the advertising and consumption of alcoholic beverages that affects millions each year is addiction. Whether a person starts using other drugs while under the influence or becomes addicted to the alcohol itself, most young people headed down that path are wholly unaware as their perceptions are certainly impaired a great deal. Many individuals go on to use more physically addictive drugs such as cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, heroin or dangerous prescription drugs.

If you or someone you love has a drug or alcohol problem, contact Narconon Arrowhead today at 1-800-468-6933 or visit http://www.stopaddiction.com. Help is available.

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Luke Catton
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