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called Prevention Plus, based on these conferences, is now available for use

in schools and communities.

Its purpose is to marshal the school and

community resources to develop more comprehensive prevention programs.

In March of this year, Secretary Dole, Governor Volpe and I had the

opportunity to participate in the first national conference for youth on

teenage drinking and driving. The conference was held in Chevy Chase,

Maryland at the National 4-H Center and was attended by nearly 400 bright,

energetic young people from every State and Territory.

These young people

joined together dedicated to eliminating drunk driving among their peers. Their sincerity, enthusiasm, and determination, give one faith in the future.

Right now, these young people who met in Chevy Chase are mounting

anti-drinking and driving campaigns base on positive peer pressure.


effort focuses on using young people to persuade other young people that

drinking and driving is not acceptable and can be deadly. Since this

conference, 34 States have reported starting new anti-drinking and driving


Next April, I intend to convene the Second Annual Conference for

Youth on Drinking and Driving to continue this initiative.


In addition to these conferences, this past spring we sponsored a special art

exhibit for young people which featured works depicting teenage drinking and


I am also pleased that this Fall we are helping to organize 15 more

conferences which will help communities assess the need for treatment

programs, for students who encounter problems associated with the use of

alcohol and drugs. When someone's drinking gets out of hand, do parents know where to turn? Do children? Do friends? These meetings will provide

answers, explain what treatment may consist of, and show

when trouble

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All of these actions are part of a Secretarial initiative of high personal

priority and are aimed at getting the appropriate message to our young people.

Additionally, in recent years, largely in response to growing public concern,

many States have moved to raise the minimum age for possession, purchase, and

consumption of alcoholic beverages.

Evidence is accumulating which indicates

that raising the legal drinking age significantly reduces alcohol-related motor vehicle accident involvement among this age group. However, while I

believe that this can be an effective measure to reduce the tragic toll of

alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents among young people, at the same

time, I believe that this is an appropriate matter for the States to consider

rather than be mandated at the Federal level as proposed in H.R. 3870.

It is my belief that the actions of the Federal, State, and local Governments,

as well as citizens groups, including groups such as Student Aganist Drunk

Driving (SADD) and Mothers Aganist Drunk Driving (MADD), can have a positive

impact on this tragic problem.

The Gallup Poll

Thur day,
January 27, 1983

Smit 1985

21-Year National Drinking-Age Law Backed By Large Majority Of Public

By George Gallup PRINCETON, N.J. If the American people were voting today in a nationwide referendum on a law making 21 the national minimum drinking age, the large majority, including young people, would vote "yes."

Drunk driving reportedly causes 25.000 auto fatalities and costs the nation some $24 billion each year. Some states which have taken tough measures to deal with drunk driving, including raising their legal drinking age, report sharp reductions in alcobol-related accidents.

One of the principal arguments for raising the legal age is that it would help prevent high-school seniors, many of whom are now of legal age, from buying alcoholic beverages for their younger schoolmates.

Gallup surveys have shown strong public support for raising the minimum drinking age in states where it is legal to drink at ages 18 or 19. However, a 1981 Gallup Youth Survey of 13-10-18-year-olds found that far fewer teenagers living in states with lower drinking ages favored raising the legal age, while in states with higher limits, many more teen-agers expressed a preference for lowering the drinking age.

Following is the question asked of adults in the latest survey and the key findings:

Do you favor or oppose a national law that would raise the legal drinking age in all stales to 21?

National Drinking-Age Law

Favor Oppose No opinion % %


77 20

3 Men

74 23

3 Women

79 17


18-20 years 21-29 years 30-49 years 50 and over

58 72 77 83

38 24 20 14

70 80 78

28 17 14

3 8

College education
High school
Grade school

Adults of all ages express support for a uniform national drinking age. Even 18., 19., and 20-year-olds vote for the proposed legislation, by a 3-to-2 ratio. These young men and women would not be able to legally buy or drink alcoholic beverages if such a law were enacted. At present, 34 states and the District of Columbia permit adults under 21 to drink all or some forms of alcoholic beverage.

The strongest (6-10-1) backing for the proposal comes from persons 50 and older, with proportionately less support as age decreases. Thus, 83% of those 50 and older favor a national minimum-age law, compared to 77% of 30-10-49-year-olds, 72% of 21-10-29-year-olds, and 58% of 18-to-20-year-olds. Also, men and persons who attended college population groups in which there is a high incidence of drinking express somewhat greater opposition to the proposed law.

Accidents Decline When the 27th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1971, giving 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds the right to vote in national elections, many states lowered their minimum legal drinking age. This reflected the belief that if young people were old enough to vote, marry, and serve in the armed forces, they were mature enough to drink responsibly. However, with teen-agers disproportionately involved in alcohol-related auto accidents, state legislators have been reassessing their drinking-age laws. As recently as 1979, 12 states permitted 18-year-olds to drink; today only five do.

Spurred by parents of children killed in accidents involving drunk drivers, President Reagan last year named a 32-member commission to study the drunkdriving problem. One of the commission's key recommendations urged states to raise the legal age for buying or consuming alcoholic beverages to 21.

82 78 70 76

16 18 24 21

2 4 6 3





October 18, 1983

The Honorable James J. Florio
Chairman, Subcommittee on Commerce,

Transportation and Tourism
HOB Annex II, Room 151
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Florio:

The American Automobile Association supports efforts to establish a minimum drink age of 21 in the various states. AAA commends your concern regarding this issue.

As you are highly aware, statistics alone are dramatic enough to illustrate the need for action. Of the 25,000 Americans who have died each year from alcohol-related accidents, roughly 35 percent are between the ages of 16 and 24. It is no wonder that the Surgeon General has reported that life expectancy in this country has increased for every age group, with the exception of the 15-24 year olds.

AAA has long recognized that drunk driving has caused far too many traffic fatalities. We have been active in developing educational materials for almost 20 years to address the continuing problem of drinking and driving. As more research results have become available, we have responded by providing educational programs for younger and younger students because the problem is starting earlier. Our latest program addresses attitudes towards alcohol for school children in grades K-6.

Of course, we realize that other measures are necessary and desirable to combat such a complex problem. One of the policies our organization has worked to achieve is a uniform drinking age of 21. We feel this is essential in bringing down the level of drunk driving in young people, and it appears that studies have supported our belief. Especially positive results were shown in Michigan, where a 31 percent decrease in alcohol-related deaths (among 18 to 20 yearolds) resulted from raising the drinking age to 21.

In our view, a uniform drinking age would eliminate the problem of teenagers crossing state lines to purchase alcoholic beverages. We intend to make substantial efforts, through AAA clubs across the country, to raise the drinking age to 21 in the various state legislatures. In light of the positive momentum created by heightened public awareness of the drunken driving problem we believe efforts on the state level will be fruitful in the near future,

We do, however, feel that the state legislatures are the most appropriate forums to address the issue of the drinking age. Mandates imposed by Washington often are resented by local citizens. Consequently, we believe that age 21 drinking laws will be more respected and adhered to if enacted by local legislatures rather than by federal fiat. This concern has also led us to strongly oppose the use of highway funding sanctions to require enactment of age 21 drinking laws, or for any other purpose.

Thank you for creating the opportunity for us, and the many other individuals and groups interested in this issue, to discuss the drinking age question.


John Archer
Managing Director
Government Affairs

in motor vehicles and improved fireproofing
in residences);
modification to alcoholic beverages them-
selves (e.g., reduction of alcohol content,

reduction or elimination of nitrosamines); - efforts by community institutions to modify

social settings and contexts to reduce the risk
associated with intoxication and to alter
social reaction to some types of drinking or

drug-using behavior.
• Legislative and regulatory measures include:

regulating the conditions of availability of
alcoholic beverages (i.e., zoning regulations
regarding hours of sale, qumbers of outlets
and numbers of licenses);
enforcing minimum drinking age laws and
employing legal disincentives to discourage
the dispensing of alcohol to obviously intoxi-
cated persons;
enforcing laws prohibiting driving while in-
toxicated by alcohol or drugs and initiating
stronger legal disincentives;
controlling advertising of alcoholic bever-
enforcing laws related to production, distri-
bution and use of “other drugs” that are
proscribed except for medical and scientific
purposes; special law enforcement agencies
are responsible for enforcing such prohibi-
tions and violations are punishable by crim-

inal sanctions;
- regulation of conditions under which these

substances are available for authorized uses,
such as measures relating to scheduling of
"controlled substances' and limitations on
periodic re-examination of sanctions to en-
sure correspondence to the degree of severity
of the health and social problems associated
with the overuse of each particular sub-
stance or drug;
pauent labeling for certain prescription drugs
(estrogens, progestins);
drug information for patients in aursing

hopes and in other long-term care facilities.
• Economic measures include:
- excise taxes on alcoholic beverages and

other means of affecting the price of alcohol; - tax incentives or disincentives to control

levels advertising expenditures for alco

holic beverages. b. Relative strength of the measures • Systematic evaluation of the effects of education

and yearly intervention programs targeted at children and youth and populations at special

risk is at an early stage. • Regulatory measures have been the Nation's

primary tool of drug abuse prevention during most of the 20th century. There is much debate

about the overall cost-benefit assessment of the current prohibitions. From a more limited perspective, however, some recent trends tend 10 support claims that regulatory approaches have

had an impact on the extent of drug use. • Heroin addiction in this country has been de

clining in recent years, coincident with reduced supplies on the illegal market and the extensive availability of treatment services. Late in 1979, however, the supply and incidence of heroin use increased in several Eastern cities. Also, barbiturate-related mortality has been declining steadily as a result of increased legal controls, greater physician awareness of the most efficacious uses of these drugs, and improved public awareness of the hazards associated with the use of barbiturates in combination with other

depressants. • Mass media campaigns that have focused public

attention upon alcohol use and abuse may have contributed to a period of relative stability in alcohol consumption during the seventies (al. though economic conditions were also a likely significant factor). Alcohol problems, as noted by several indicators (cirrhosis mortality rate decline, survey data on alcohol consumption among youth and adults), appear also to bave leveled off during this period of apparent stability. While direct causal attribution is not possible, the creation of a National alcoholism treatment network and early intervention services in the workplace probably played a role in the

stabilization of cirrhosis deaths. • Alcoholic beverage regulation has not tradition

ally been focused on public health considerations, but data concerning the impact of regulatory initiatives on tobacco smoking may be transferable to the alcohol area. Research here and in other countries suggests that the availability of alcohol may affect the level and type of alcohol problems, particularly physical health problems consequent to long-term excessive drinking. Consumption, in turn, has been linked fairly conclusively to the relative price of alcohol, and less conclusively to such factors as the legal purchase age, number and dispersion of retail on-premise and off-premise outlets, and hours of saie. Also "Dram Shop” laws can offer powerful incentives for alcoholic beverage licensces to try to reduce the likelihood of intoxica

Hon among their patrons. • In general, alcohol and drug education programs

can increase information levels and modify attitudes. Their effect on drinking or drug-using behavior has not yet been demonstrated conclusively, although recent studies have yielded en

couraging preliminary findings. „3. Specific Objectives for 1990

• Improved health status

a. By 1990, fatalities from motor vehicle accidents

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