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Ron Sostkowski

13 Firstfield Road Gaithersburg, Maryland 20878 (301) 948-0922 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, S.E. Suite 206 Washington, D.C. 20003 (202) 547-0120

Diam McCormick

International Association

of Chiefs of Police

Kemper Group

MADD

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Office of Disease Prevention Susan Maloney

and Health Promotion

605 Reporters Building 300 Seventh Street, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20590 (202) 472-5660

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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 alumni 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 5221717 Sixth Avenue South University Station Birmingham, Alabama 35294 (205) 834 3334

Page Two

As you will note, I am the Chairperson of the Governor's Task Force on Drunk Driving. This body was established by Executive Order this past August. The Task Force is composed of 43 outstanding Alab amians who have enthusiastically accepted the Governor's charge to develop realistic recommendations that will help reduce the slaughter taking place, day in and day out, on highways in Alabama and throughout the nation because of drunk drivers. I am more than willing to meet personally with you or any member of your staff to elaborate upon the very critical necessity of establishing a national 21 year drinking age.

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I hasten to add that I am a strong believer in the concept of "state's rights" but in an instance where thousands of lives are at stake and the state fails to act because of the rigid, selfish and uninformed vested interests of miniscule group of temporarily powerful individuals, it is essential that the federal government step in and take corrective and preventive action. Respectfullg,

Rusefin

Dr. Philip R. Fine

CC: Hon. James J. Florio

U.S. House of Representatives

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