Taking on the beer lobby

June 23, 1999

Here is an excerpt of an editorial from the Boston Globe, which was published Monday.

THE SAME lobby that killed a proposal last year to standardize blood alcohol levels for drunken driving is now trying to keep underage drinking out of a youth education campaign sponsored by the nation's drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey.

The National Beer Wholesalers Association opposes the inclusion of underage drinking in the $195 million media campaign, claiming that alcohol is a legal substance and should not be lumped with marijuana, cocaine and other illegal drugs. But drinking under age 21 is illegal in every state, and alcohol abuse is far more common than any other drug among young people.

The facts about underage drinking are sobering. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 16,100 alcohol-related fatalities in 1997 -- one person killed every 32 minutes. Intoxication rates were highest for the youngest drivers.

June -- prom season -- is the month when most of these tragic deaths occur. It would be a good month for Congress to do something about it.

Pub Date: 6/23/99

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