STOP Legislation Targets Underage Drinking - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

12/19/06 - Nacogdoches

STOP Legislation Targets Underage Drinking

by Donna McCollum

Thanks to the 'STOP' legislation, there will be more national funding for coalitions like Nacogdoches Safe and Drug Free to enhance underage drinking prevention efforts. NSDF community mobilization specialist, Courtney White said, "The best prevention that we found is that if you talk to children at a young age about alcohol, underage drinking and the danger of those things, then we can combat this issue."

The STOP Act also provides a national media campaign on underage drinking aimed at adults and young adults.   "The figures we have right now include an increase of about a million dollars a year for the next four years that will go towards national campaigns armed at children and adults," said White.

Stephen F Austin State University is on board, yet it's in a precarious position. Athletes are instructed about responsible drinking, but there's Lumberjack Alley where beer is consumed. Also athletics rely on the financial support from beer distributors. Assistant athletic director, Stephanie McDonald agreed. "It is, but also a lot of our advertisers who have alcohol related businesses, part of their advertisement is how to drink responsibly."

The Beer Institute points out the language in the bill. It says, The National Collegiate Athletic Association, its member colleges and universities, and athletic conferences should affirm a commitment to a policy of discouraging alcohol use among underage students and other young fans." SFA is doing this by working closely with Nacogdoches Safe and Drug Free and conducts lessons on responsible drinking with athletes. McDonald is wanting those who drink to be responsible. "And so hopefully, what happens in Lumberjack Alley, the people who are maybe consuming alcohol coming to the game, that they have time to let some of the alcohol get out of their system, and they have a designated driver."

The STOP Act will not stop all alcohol consumption, but it may encourage those who do drink, to do it responsibly.  According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving more than 6,000 people die each year from causes related to underage-drinking. More than one third of the deaths happen in vehicle crashes.  

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