Throughout the month of April, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) will be recognizing Alcohol Awareness Month — as highlighted by the U.S. Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — to raise awareness about alcohol abuse.
“Alcohol is a unique product that is not for everyone,” said NBWA President Craig Purser. “National Alcohol Awareness Month is an appropriate time to recognize that alcoholic beverages need to be effectively regulated to help combat abuse and to ensure they do not end up in the hands of those under the legal drinking age.”
“Responsibility begins with effective regulation, and the United States has had a time-tested system of alcohol regulation in place for more than eight decades – a system that allows the states to decide how best to regulate and track alcohol,” he added.
NBWA is advocating for Congress to reauthorize the Sober Truth on Preventing (STOP) Underage Drinking Act.
The STOP Act, which became law in 2006, highlighted health and safety concerns related to underage drinking and provided funding for state initiatives to address such problems. It also authorized a national media campaign, new grant programs and research to combat underage drinking.
Additionally, it formally established and funded the federal Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking (ICCPUD), chaired by SAMHSA, to help coordinate the various federal agencies involved in alcohol issues.
The STOP Act “combats the consequences of underage drinking while affirming the regulatory value of today’s state-based system of alcohol regulation,” according to a NBWA press release. “This landmark legislation recognizes that alcohol is different than other consumer products and is best regulated by the states, consistent with the 21st Amendment.”
“Alcohol is not like other consumer products and can have consequences if abused,” the press release continued. “That’s why beer distributors are regulated and work to take steps to ensure the safe and legal sale of alcohol, fight efforts to weaken regulations that provide a safe and orderly marketplace and participate in programs that promote alcohol education and responsible consumption only by adults of legal drinking age.”
NBWA urges parents, educators and community leaders to join efforts to encourage responsible and legal consumption by utilizing SAMHSA resources that can help educate young people about the dangers of underage drinking and the importance of making smart decisions. More information about these resources can be found at stopalcoholabuse.gov