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SUPPORT OF FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION WE DON'T SERVE TEENS INITIATIVE

 Mr. Speaker, I rise to address underage drinking, a public health and safety issue that is often lost in the pile of other stories in our 24-hour news cycle. Back in 2005, the Federal Trade Commission initiated a consumer education program to reduce underage drinking called ‘‘We Don’t Serve Teens.’’ It is a valuable resource to raise awareness among parents, educators, and other adults that furnishing alcohol to minors is illegal and irresponsible. The program also encourages common-sense measures to further reduce illegal underage drinking and the dangers caused by teens who drink illegally and to the general public. Over the last several years, I have checked with credible sources to see how we are doing as a nation on addressing underage drinking. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that progress has continued for more than a decade in reducing underage drinking, but it remains a serious public health problem for adolescents and young adults. SAMSHA surveys find that significant numbers of younger persons between the ages of 12 and 14 drank alcohol in the month before they were surveyed, and that more than 90 percent obtain alcohol from their own home, the home of a friend, or an adult family member. Those findings clearly indicate the importance that family members can play in reducing young adolescents’ access to alcohol and the associated risks of injury and the early onset of serious health problems. Recent information on highway deaths from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is very discouraging for adults and teens. Highway deaths increased in 2015 as did deaths from drunk driving. More than 10,000 Americans were killed in drunk-driving accidents, and younger drivers are a large portion of that terrible and preventable toll. Tens of thousands of people were also injured, including many young people who will be scarred or disabled for life. Underage drinking is illegal and persons under the age of 21 are subject to arrest, fines, and license suspension for possession of alcohol beverages or driving after consumption of a single drink. This issue is often overlooked in stories about the criminal justice system. Thousands of young people get a criminal record and driver’s license history that will prevent them from obtaining many jobs that involve driving or that require a clean record. In addition to the risk of injury and death, experimenting with alcohol can cause a young person permanent economic harm. A substantial proportion of college students are under the age of 21. They face significantly higher risks than their non-college peers of injury or death from assault, car crashes, and other accidents after illegally consuming alcohol. This behavior must be challenged. Our best and brightest students, many of whom attend publicly supported schools and receive government grants and subsidies, have to do better. For the last eleven years, members of the alcohol beverage industry have actively supported the We Don’t Serve Teens initiative. Constellation Brands Beer Division and many retail stores in Chicago have made long-term commitments to underage drinking prevention in the district I represent and surrounding communities. Over the last couple of months, they sponsored electronic billboards, bus shelter signs, and media messages to promote the We Don’t Serve Teens message. Other companies made similar efforts in their home cities. I commend those efforts. I also ask all adults and teens to work together to further reduce the tragic consequences of illegal underage drinking. All of these hazards are preventable. As we approach the holiday season celebrations in our homes and elsewhere, I urge all adults to set an example of responsible behavior and compliance with laws designed to ensure the safety of our citizens. With a sincere commitment of parents, guardians, and concerned citizens to remain involved in the lives of our teens, we can all get home safely and to enjoy special holiday occasions together for years to come. 

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    repName Danny K. Davis  
    helpWithFedAgencyAddress Chicago District Office
    2813-15 W. Fifth Avenue
    Chicago, Illinois 60612
     
    district 7th District of Illinois  
    academyUSCitizenDate July 1, 2017  
    academyAgeDate July 1, 2017  
    academyApplicationDueDate October 20, 2017  
    repStateABBR IL  
    repDistrict 7  
    repState Illinois  
    repDistrictText 7th  
    repPhoto  
    SponsoredBills Sponsored Bills  
    CoSponsoredBills Co-Sponsored Bills  
         
         
         
         
         
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