Statement on the Debate Over Lowering the Drinking Age From Stephen Wallace, Chairman and CEO of SADD
Marlborough, Mass. – August 20, 2008 – In response to the renewed debate over underage drinking, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions) reemphasizes its stance in opposition to lowering the drinking age.
SADD believes that lowering the current minimum-age drinking laws would likely do little, if anything, to reduce problematic drinking behaviors on college campuses and would contribute to the downward age trending of initiation into alcohol use by legally moving it into the high school community. According to SADD’s Teens Today research, students in grades 6-12 ranked the drinking age as the number one reason why they choose not to use alcohol.
According to The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking, alcohol use by young people is a leading contributor to death from injuries, plays a significant role in risky sexual behavior, increases the risk of assault, and is associated with academic failure and illicit drug use. Specifically, this report highlights that:
In addition, impaired driving crashes kill thousands of young people each year and injure many more.
As the nation’s preeminent peer-to-peer youth education, prevention, and activism organization, SADD provides students with the tools and resources they need to make healthy choices and help their friends and peers to do the same. SADD students abide by a “No Use” policy, in which they do not support or condone the use of alcohol by underage young people.
Stephen Wallace has broad experience as a school psychologist and adolescent counselor, and speaks frequently to young people, families, and the media about youth development and decision-making. He is the author of the new book Reality Gap: Alcohol, Drugs, and Sex—What Parents Don’t Know and Teens Aren’t Telling.