Choose Responsibility Applauds Vermont Senate for Passing Resolution in Support of Drinking Age Debate

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Choose Responsibility commends the Vermont state Senate for passing SR 17, a resolution urging Congress to create a waiver from the federal transportation funding penalties for states that would like to explore policy alternatives to the 21 year-old drinking age. SR 17’s passage represents a milestone in the nationwide movement to rethink Legal Age 21.

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The passage of SR 17 is an act of courage and leadership. It signals the Vermont Senate’s desire to explore comprehensive, realistic new solutions to the problem of toxic binge drinking, solutions that may in time become best practices not only in Vermont but in other states.

Choose Responsibility applauds the Vermont state Senate for passing SR 17, a resolution urging Congress to create a waiver to the federal transportation funding penalty attached to the drinking age so that interested states have the flexibility to explore alternatives to Legal Age 21. SR 17’s passage represents a milestone in the nationwide movement to rethink the 21 year-old drinking age, and Choose Responsibility looks forward to bringing this important conversation to other states.

Statistics show that Legal Age 21 is not working: nationally, nearly 48% of 18-20 year-olds have consumed alcohol in the past month, and 34% of 18-20 year-olds are binge drinkers. Among students, these behaviors have led to tremendous negative consequences: recent research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism showed that the rates of binge drinking and unintentional alcohol-related deaths have increased steadily in the 18-24 student population. The one-size-fits all federal mandate of Legal Age 21 has had unintended consequences, and those states that may want to take alternative approaches must be allowed to debate those alternatives without risking a financial penalty.

“SR 17 clearly states that ‘federal funding penalties prevent an open public debate about the effects of the drinking age….’ Vermont would have preferred to keep its drinking age at 18. Senator Leahy in 1984 opposed raising the age. But federal coercion forced the state to change or face a reduction in highway funding,” said Choose Responsibility President John McCardell. “The passage of SR 17 is an act of courage and leadership. It signals the Vermont Senate’s desire to explore comprehensive, realistic new solutions to the problem of toxic binge drinking, solutions that may in time become best practices not only in Vermont but in other states.”

Choose Responsibility is a nonprofit organization founded to stimulate informed and dispassionate public discussion about the presence of alcohol in American culture and to consider policies that will effectively empower young adults age 18 to 20 to make mature decisions about the place of alcohol in their own lives. To learn more, visit http://www.chooseresponsibility.org.

Contact: Nick DeSantis
Phone: (202) 543-8760
E-Mail: ndesantis(at)chooseresponsibility(dot)org

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