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NAAG Youth Access to Alcohol Committee Co-Chairs Prepared to Answer the Surgeon General?s Call to Ac

March 7, 2007

For Immediate Release:
Tuesday March 6, 2007

News Release

National Association of Attorneys General Youth Access to Alcohol Committee Co-Chairs Prepared to Answer the Surgeon General?s
Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking

Today, Acting Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu issued a Call to Action To Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking. The report identifies underage drinking as a ?major societal problem with enormous health and safety consequences? that ?will demand the Nation?s attention and committed efforts to solve.? The Surgeon General highlights new research that explains why youth react to alcohol differently from adults and explains why successful interventions must occur early, continuously and in the context of human development. He concludes that underage alcohol use is not inevitable and that adults are not powerless to prevent it. The Call to Action offers six goals for reducing and preventing underage drinking and outlines how the goals can be achieved.

Shortly after the release of the report, Attorneys General from around the country announced that they were prepared to answer the Surgeon General?s Call to Action. The National Association of Attorneys General Youth Access to Alcohol Committee formed in 2004 to work to reduce underage drinking. The Committee studies youth exposure to alcohol advertising and access to alcohol, educates state Attorneys General on ways to reduce access and change social norms about underage drinking, and partners with national and state entities to augment and enhance on-going efforts to stop underage drinking.

The Co-Chairs of the Committee Charles Foti of Louisiana, Steve Rowe of Maine and Greg Abbott of Texas praised Dr. Moritsugu for his leadership in addressing this critically important child health issue and they offered help in implementing the recommendations of his report within their states.

After attending a special briefing by the Surgeon General on the Call to Action, Attorney General Rowe said, ?Attorneys General know first hand the devastating effects of youth drinking and we?ve been working within our states and nationally to try to address the problem. Unfortunately, too many people in this country do not fully understand the health implications of youth drinking. This is why the Surgeon General?s Call to Action is so important ? he?s the country?s top physician and he?s warning the public that underage drinking is a serious pediatric health crisis that needs immediate attention.?

As a first step, the Committee will circulate the Call to Action to all Attorneys General and urge them to immediately meet with their state alcohol policy makers and community prevention partners to determine what steps they can take toward implementation of the recommendations. The Committee will ask Attorneys General to challenge everyone in their state to get involved because youth drinking is a community problem that requires a community solution. The Committee will facilitate the sharing of information to aid in the development of best practices as implementation moves forward.

The Committee is pleased that the Call to Action incorporates several key aspects of comments it submitted to the Surgeon General in March 2006 and that it contains challenges and action steps for everyone involved in the issue, including the alcohol industry, law enforcement, parents, school administrators, state policymakers, health care professionals, community leaders, business owners and youth. The Committee will take all of the steps that it is able to put the recommendations of the Call to Action into action.

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