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You are aware, of course, that a bill to increase the legal drinking age from
19 to 21 years died in the Alabama Senate on Monday, August 1, 1983.
It is a tragedy this life-saving bill (that passed overwhelmingly - 79 to 7 .
in the Alabama House earlier in the session) fell victim to pressures exerted
by the liquor lobby as evidenced by the stall and delay tactics employed by
small, elitist cadre of State Senators and one other high-ranking elected state
official.
Each member of the Alabama Senate and the Lt. Governor was provided with
enormous amounts of scientific data and evidence supporting the proposition to
increase the legal drinking age. Yet, some key "players" chose to ignore the
facts. Regrettably, in this instance, ignoring facts translates directly to
loss of lives. In their un informed ignorance, some of the bill's few opponents
argued that revenue would be lost if the 19 to 21 year age group was eliminated
from the pool of potential purchasers. However, these same elected officials
failed to acknowledge that the direct expense to the state for medical care,
hospitalization, physical rehabilitation, vocational rehabilitation and in many
cases, life-long maintenance for the catastrophically disabled (who survive the
drunken driver) far exceeds the meager tax revenue the 19 to 21 year olds would
contribute if they were allowed to continue purchasing alcohol.
I have enclosed a photocopy of a timely and exceptionally well-done scientific
study conducted at Duke University and published in the most recent issue of
that great institution's alumn i newsletter. I have also enclosed a photocopy of
an editorial reprinted from the student newspaper at the University of
Nebraska. It reflects an exceptionally responsible posture. I am hopeful you
will consider this information as well as other readily available data and
subsequently make a decision to support a bill to establish a national legal
drinking age of 21 years that was recently introduced in the United States
House of Representatives by the Honorable James F. Florio of New Jersey.

Spain Rehabilitation Center Room 522 • 1717 Sixth Avenue South University Station Birmingham, Alabama 35294 • (205) 934-3334

NADO

Editorial

Up drinking age? Yes

A Very Sincere THANK YOU to ALISTATE INSURANCE COMPANY for underwriting and printing our Victim Information Pamphlets (VIP). This pamphlet includes valuable information on the bereavement process and adjudication process.

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Tative per of the fatal Ir "en the Leusiasure woted to dents statewide ng shoes were rarse the saing are rom 19 to 20 caused by those age and unde à the

etic en god group that comprises only rent
perursachable to en of the lensed drivers
Ourge! 035 responsable "Inends should Zwonechek und that in a study show
have been desico To some extent it ung the number of 204 cards wie

But that were the main pucs. un tatal incidents and ach from
Thin at and the currentiegai danking age to 1982, the data show them to be dis-
Huld not be questioned

proprotunately a problem He admitted 1. real questen is. Will it make a that though most slalists can be mant Jitterence for Sebraska to raise the ape pulated to prove whatever point needs to The rei unswer is a resounding be made "In any way you read the

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gures. O rear olds fall out as a signull Yes the state would benefit because cant problem the roads would be safer and there would A study released last summer by the be less hance that you or your friends are Insurance Institute fox Highway Safety inted in an alcohol-related accident Surveyed nine states from 1990 to 1980

The evidence is over heming in even which raised their drinking age. In eight of casc liere a state has raised its drinking the nine states, the reduktion in night age from 18 to 1 That's not surprising time fatal crashes ranged from percent But the new cildenur wows that if 20- to 75 percent. The study showed that a year ilds were not able to acquire al vhol state can expect an average 's per entre is easily fewer people would die on the dulton in nighttime fatal crashes among highway

drivers in the ape group the law hange It seems that 20-year olds, as a group. applies to tend to be a problem when it comes to Even most younger people realize the driving and drinking If it were just a problem and would support a law making Younger crowd, such as high school stu: 21 the drinking age nationally in a Gallup dents, causing the problem, the case would Poll released Jan 27, 18, 19 and 20 year be different

olds would vote for such a law by a ratio of According to Fred Zwonechek, director 3-10-2. It does make sense

Information
Pamphlet

Reprinted from THE DAILY NEBRASK N Thursday
fen. 10. 1983. THE DAILY NEBRASAAN is the student
public atan of the Unnersin of Nebraska at Lincoln

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thinking as its milton ton and 13-year-olds Therra sider themes tend to buy beer and othenato Cheveges or them. This problemu hec to some extent by making

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Teens driving deaths tied to drinking laws

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57

Position Paper on 21-Year-Drinking Age
Senator Lee B. Laskin
Page Fifteen

Education:

A DRINKING PROBLEM, A LEARNING PROBLEM Understandably, a large part of the debate on the drinking age focuses on the clear statistics dealing with highway safety. There is physical evidence (a collision) of disaster, and a medical test can determine the presence of alcohol. The annual traffic fatalities can then show that twice as many young pe op le below the age of 21 die in car accidents than of cancer, diabetes or the other serious medical problems we hear about every day.

It is slightly more difficult to obtain "hard" statistics on alcohol abuse by underage students. Unless the student has an extremely serious run-in with a school's administrators or the law, their unusual behavior and poor performance in school due to drinking aren't included in alcohol statistics.

There has been some research on the role alcohol is playing in our education system, and it is outright frightening.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that 3.3 million teenagers -- about one in five -are problem drinkers who lose control at least once a week. These figures seemed unreal, so I contacted New Jersey officials for their analysis.

In New Jersey, our health officials have estimated that over 46,000 teenagers are alcoholics more than twice the number of five years ago and that a majority of them began drinking in eighth grade at 13 or 14 years of age.

The New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, in its recent report, Drug and Alcohol Use Among New Jersey High School Students, found that nine in every ten high school students have used alcohol at some time in their lives. of the students surveyed,

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