Oregon Attorney General Hardy Myers Responds to U.S. Surgeon General's Call To Action To Prevent And Reduce Underage Drinking
Acting U.S. Surgeon General Kenneth Moritsugu today issued a Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking The report identifies underage drinking as a serious public health and safety problem that must be addressed early, continuously and in the context of human development. Shortly after the release of the report, Attorneys General from around the country announced they were prepared to answer the Surgeon General's Call to Action.
The National Association of Attorneys General formed its Youth Access to Alcohol Committee 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 ongoing efforts to stop underage drinking.
Attorney General Hardy Myers, a member of the Committee, joined the Committee Co-Chairs Charles Foti of Louisiana, Steve Rowe of Maine and Greg Abbott of Texas in praising Dr. Moritsugu for his leadership in addressing this critically important child health issue and in offering help in implementing the recommendations of his report.
Myers stressed that it is time for parents and youth to take this warning seriously. "The new brain research demonstrates that youth drinking has long-term and sometimes irreversible effects on developing brains. We must get youth, parents and other adults to understand the serious health risks associated with youth drinking and also must find ways to change the social norms around underage drinking."
Attorney General Myers also noted that he previously established the Attorney General's Underage Drinking Task Force to address these issues in Oregon. That Task Force drafted a report of its own and a set of legislative proposals designed to improve the effectiveness of Oregon's laws against underage drinking. The Task Force Report and the legislative proposals are available through the Oregon Department of Justice website: www.doj.state.or.us.
Myers further noted that the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking expressly underscored the need to enforce uniformly and consistently all policies and laws against underage alcohol use. That determination coincides completely with the findings and proposals for legislative change presented by Myers' Task Force.
"The Surgeon General's Call to Action reinforces the findings and recommendations of my own Task Force and it provides additional compelling support for the legislative proposals pending before our Legislative Assembly. I am hopeful that Oregon can be a leader in taking action to reduce underage drinking. Protection of our youth must be one of our highest priorities," Myers added.
Stephanie Soden, (503) 378-6002