Last week's news of college presidents supporting the Amethyst Initiative, which seeks to revisit the debate on the legal drinking age and encourages lawmakers to lower it, generated media coverage in both national and local media outlets, and sparked a public debate on the merits of lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18. CADCA joined MADD in opposing the initiative and is urging grassroots prevention organizations to launch a community-wide educational campaign to shed light on the importance of keeping the drinking age at 21.
To help community coalitions in their efforts, CADCA has developed a Support 21 Community Toolkit. The online toolkit includes the following components:
- Sample letter for college presidents
- Contact Information Sheet of college presidents
- Sample Op-Ed for local newspapers
- News release template
- Tips on How to Hold Editorial Board Meetings
- Fact Sheets & Stats
- National & Local News Clips
- Helpful Resources & Links
The Toolkit contains key statistics and research that will help coalitions make the case that lowering the drinking age is a bad solution to a preventable problem.
CADCA believes that while underage drinking, particularly on college campuses, is pervasive and has major repercussions, lowering the drinking age is not the solution. A wealth of evidence indicates that the 21 minimum legal drinking age has improved public health and safety. Since the 21 drinking age law was implemented, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that nearly 25,000 lives have been saved. In addition, more than 50 peer-reviewed studies have found that increasing the drinking age significantly lowers alcohol-related fatalities.
Here are some steps to get coalitions started:
- Send a letter to college presidents.
- Submit an Op-Ed to your local newspapers.
- Meet with editorial boards of your local media outlets to explain the facts.
- Meet with and engage college presidents in your prevention efforts.
- Issue a news release announcing your efforts.
The Support 21 Community Toolkit is available at: www.cadca.org.