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Wednesday, October 11, 2000 Meeting

Quarterly Meeting Agenda

Wednesday, October 11, 2000
1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Office of Justice Programs
810 7th Street, NW
Main Conference Room
Washington, DC

Please note: a picture I.D. is required for admittance.

1:00-1:10 Welcome
The Honorable Janet Reno, Chair (invited)
Attorney General
US Department of Justice
1:10-3:00 Youth, Alcohol and Juvenile Justice
1:10-1:30 Opening Remarks
Dr. Sue Bailey
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
US Department of Transportation
1:30-1:50 Developing Promising and Effective Programs to Address Underage Drinking
First Lady of Pennsylvania Michele Ridge
National Co-Chair, Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free
Governors' Spouses Initiative
1:50-2:10 Enoch Gordis, MD
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Joel W. Grube, Ph.D.
Center for Adolescent and Child Health Research
Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE)

Kathryn G. Stewart
Deputy Director
National Center for the Advancement of Prevention
The Importance of Listening to Youth

2:30-2:45 Kelly Standiford
1999-2000 National Student of the Year
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD)
2:45-3:00 Opportunity for General Discussion on Youth and Alcohol
3:00 Closing Remarks
John J. Wilson, Vice Chair
Acting Administrator
OJJDP, US Department of Justice

Quarterly Meeting Summary

October 11, 2000

Office of Justice Programs
810 Seventh Street NW.
Main Conference Room
Washington, DC

Meeting Overview

In attendance

  • The Honorable Janet Reno, Chair, Attorney General, U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
  • Mary Lou Leary, Acting Assistant Attorney General, DOJ.
  • John J. Wilson, Vice Chair, Acting Administrator, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), DOJ.
  • Dr. Sue Bailey, Administrator, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).
  • Larry Brendtro, President, Reclaiming Youth.
  • Barbara Broman, Deputy to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Service Policy, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
  • Kimberly J. Budnick, Director, Concentration of Federal Efforts Program, OJJDP.
  • Jack Calhoun, President, National Crime Prevention Council.
  • Darlind Davis, Chief, Prevention Branch, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).
  • Enoch Gordis, MD, Director, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
  • Joel Grube, Ph.D., Director, Center for Adolescent and Child Health Research, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE).
  • Bertha Jones, Program Analyst, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
  • Gordon Martin, Associate Justice, Massachusetts Trial Court, District Court.
  • Bill Modzeleski, Director, Safe and Drug Free Schools, U.S. Department of Education.
  • Richard Morris, Youth Specialist, U.S. Department of Labor (DOL).
  • John Pogash, National Juvenile Coordinator and Juvenile Program Director, Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).
  • First Lady of Pennsylvania Michele Ridge, National Co-Chair, Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, Governors' Spouses Initiative.
  • Kelly Standiford, 1999-2000 National Student of the Year, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD).
  • Kathryn Stewart, Deputy Director, Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center, PIRE.
  • Ernie Thomas, Management Analyst, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (BATF).
  • Jim Wright, Coordinator, Youth Alcohol Programs, NHTSA.


Welcome and Opening Remarks
The Honorable Janet Reno, Chair, Attorney General

The Honorable Janet Reno welcomed the Coordinating Council on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to its quarterly meeting, focused on youth and alcohol.

In 1994, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released figures on the common denominators of youth violence. These figures indicated that violent confrontations are more likely to occur between friends and acquaintances than between strangers and that alcohol-not illegal drugs-is more likely to fuel the violence.

Alcohol is the drug of choice for most youth, and youth are experimenting with alcohol at very young ages. More than half of all eighth graders and 80 percent of all high school seniors have reported alcohol use. Individuals who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times as likely to develop alcohol dependence. Heavy users of alcohol are four times more likely to steal, three times more likely to hurt or kill themselves or get into a fight, and more than seven times more likely to have been arrested. Alcoholism can develop in adolescents much more quickly than it does in adults. Traffic fatalities are one of the most serious and devastating consequences of alcohol use by youth. Drunk driving remains one of the leading causes of teen injuries and death.

John Wilson, Vice Chair, Acting Administrator, OJJDP

Mr. Wilson also welcomed the Coordinating Council and spoke on behalf of the Council when he sincerely thanked the Attorney General for her commitment to and support of the Council. Jack Calhoun, President, National Crime Prevention Council, spoke on behalf of the practitioner members of the Council when he applauded Ms. Reno as a "listening woman" who is "groundedin her passionate belief in the next generation." Larry Brendtro, President, Reclaiming Youth, described Ms. Reno as a different kind of Attorney General, who makes it a point to quietly visit youth programs wherever she travels. On behalf of the Council, Gordon Martin, Associate Justice, Massachusetts Trial Court, District Court, read a resolution and, with Mr. Calhoun and Mr. Brendtro, presented a plaque to the Attorney General honoring her service and commitment.

Ms. Reno thanked the Coordinating Council, saying that it is easy to be Attorney General compared to the "hard work of the people who work to unravel the hurt of troubled children and give them futures."

Youth, Alcohol, and Juvenile Justice
Dr. Sue Bailey, Administrator, NHTSA, DOT

In 1984, Congress passed and the President signed the Mandatory Minimum Drinking Age Act, which required all States to set the drinking age at 21 years or lose Federal funding for highways. By 1988, all States had complied. NHTSA estimates that 19,000 lives have been saved because of mandatory drinking age laws. After enacting minimum drinking age laws, Congress passed zero tolerance laws that set the legal blood alcohol limit for drivers under the age of 21 at no higher than .02. All 50 States have adopted this law.

According to the CDC, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for those between 15 and 20 years of age and more than one third of motor vehicle fatalities in this age group are alcohol related. In 1999, 2,238 youths died in alcohol-related crashes. Because it is illegal for juveniles to purchase alcohol under the age of 21, these were preventable deaths.

The language in both the mandatory drinking age laws and the zero tolerance laws does not require proof of compliance. NHTSA provides materials, training, and technical assistance to help States increase and measure compliance. NHTSA and OJJDP are developing "How To" guides for enforcement agencies on implementing alcohol compliance checks and sobriety checkpoints. NHTSA, in partnership with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), has developed model techniques to enforce zero tolerance laws and has worked with State and national alcohol beverage control agencies to promote best practices in the retail sale of alcohol.

Law enforcement officers are often reluctant to take action against a juvenile when the officers may have to spend a lot of time locating the parents. To address this problem, NHTSA and OJJDP are developing resources to encourage juvenile holdover programs, which provide temporary, safe shelter for those juveniles, thereby enabling the officers to get back to work. NHTSA and OJJDP have also collaborated on teen courts, creating hundreds of new courts. With the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), NHTSA published sentencing and disposition guides for judges and prosecutors to use in handling alcohol-related offenses. With NHTSA and OJJDP support, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) published a guide on how to coordinate a systems response to the youth alcohol problem.

The youth population continues to grow. Unfortunately, the reduction in alcohol-related fatalities is slowing and, in some cases, reversing. Dr. Bailey urged Council members to support NHTSA's national mobilization campaign to enforce impaired driving laws. The campaign-You Drink and Drive, You Lose-will call for increased visible enforcement in December and over theFourth of July holidays. The youth component of the campaign will take place in the spring and will feature the message "Zero tolerance means zero chances for underage drinking."

Developing Promising and Effective Programs To Address Underage Drinking
First Lady of Pennsylvania Michele Ridge, National Co-Chair, Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free, Governors' Spouses Initiative

Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free is a bipartisan, multiyear national initiative to educate America about the incidence and impact of early alcohol use by children between the ages of 9 and 15. Twenty-eight Governors' spouses have taken roles as spokespersons to educate and energize the public on this issue and to make prevention of alcohol use by children a national priority.

Three million children ages 14-17 are regular drinkers with confirmed alcohol problems. One in four eighth graders has used alcohol in the last month, and 100,000 children ages 12-13 binge drink once every month. Parents need to know that alcohol is the number one drug of choice among children, with much higher usage than tobacco or drugs. The onset of alcoholism can occur in just 6 months to 2 years in adolescents, compared with 12 to 25 years for adults. Alcohol affects the physiology and neurology of developing teens and has practical academic consequences.

The message is simple: Talk to children about alcohol and drugs today. In Pennsylvania, the statewide initiative has created a task force made up of law enforcement, health and welfare agencies, the liquor control board, and the Governor's policy office. In Erie, PA, youth are creating labels for their Project Sticker Shock campaign that read "It is illegal to buy or providealcohol for anyone under 21. It's not your call; it's the law." Doylestown, PA is focusing on parent education with the slogan "Model what you expect and expect what you model."

Major partners in this initiative are NIAAA and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Other Federal and private supporters include the National Institutes of Health's Office of Research on Women's Health and Research on Minority Health, OJJDP, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the American Bar Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

Enoch Gordis, MD, Director, NIAAA

Although the problem of youth and alcohol is important and serious, public attention focused on the problem is still lacking, for several reasons. Alcohol is a legal substance and its use is perceived as less dangerous than use of illegal drugs and is even portrayed as funny at times. The public focus on drug abuse eclipses the problem of alcohol.

Science has made it possible to understand the effects alcohol has on adolescents and is the only hope for developing new prevention and treatment methods. Recent findings show that the earlier a young person begins to drink, the greater the danger of alcoholism as an adult. If drinking begins before the age of 13, there is a 40-percent likelihood that the person will become an adult alcoholic, whereas if drinking is delayed until ages18-20, the risk is only 10 percent.

Prevention initiatives can be researched as thoroughly as new treatments or medications by using comparison trials and historical controls. Major research demonstrates the feasibility of delaying the initiation of drinking, but it is not yet known how easily these research results can be generalized from community to community.

Because the brain is not fully developed until ages 18-20, alcohol causes major problems in adolescents' cognition, visual perception, abstract reasoning, and memory. The developing brain has the quality known as neuromal plasticity, which means that young persons are particularly vulnerable to alcohol. Alcohol also damages functions related to the ability to plan and to learn from past experience.

The extent of drinking on college campuses varies. On some campuses, drinking is very extensive and is associated with date rape, vandalism, violence, and car accidents. Because of liability insurance costs, drinking has a tremendous impact on the cost of running colleges and universities.

NIAAA is disseminating information and research to the general public. The agency is working with a college panel to publish handbooks on what is known about college drinking and what remains to be done. NIAAA has distributed 250,000 Make a Difference, Talk to Your Child About Alcohol pamphlets, with plans to distribute 1 million. A Spanish-language version of this pamphlet will soon be available.

Joel Grube, Ph.D., Director, Center for Adolescent and Child Health Research, PIRE

Data from the Monitoring the Future Survey, an annual survey of approximately 16,000 students conducted since 1975, indicate that a majority of students are drinkers by their senior year. A substantial proportion are monthly drinkers-about half of the students reported having a drink within the last 30 days. However, as programs are designed, it is important to keep in mind that these data also show that half the students are not current drinkers. Binge drinking, defined as consuming five or more drinks in a row on at least one occasion in the past 2 weeks, was reported by one-third of high school seniors. All these indicators of underage drinking have declined somewhat from the 1970's and 1980's in response to laws.

Analysis of 30-day drinking patterns by grade level indicates that abstinence declined as grade level rose. Young people generally don't drink like most adults drink; that is, young people usually drink to get drunk. The accuracy of this generalization is reflected in the fact that the majority of students who did drink in the last 30 days were binge drinkers.

Data from the 1997 National Household Survey demonstrate that more than half of students are moderate drinkers, a substantial proportion binge drink, and a smaller proportion are frequent bingers (defined as drinking five or more drinks at least five times in the past 30 days).
Although frequent bingers represent only 4 percent of young drinkers, they consume 67 percent of the alcohol.

Patterns of heavy episodic drinking have serious implications for other problems. Bingers are at greater risk for reporting alcohol problems, including drinking and driving, drinking more often than they intend, and being unable to limit alcohol use when they would like to be able to do so. Bingers are also at greater risk for reporting other social problems, including gang fighting,arguing at home, skipping school, and being arrested. The many problems associated with underage drinking have high economic and social costs. The use of alcohol by youth in 1996 (in 1998 dollars) was $53 billion or about $200 for every man, woman, and child in the United States.

Kathryn Stewart, Deputy Director, Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center, PIRE

The good news is that minimum drinking age laws have saved 19,000 lives and have reduced homicide, suicide, and accident rates. There is no evidence that young people are substituting drugs for alcohol. The bad news-alcohol is cheaper than ever. Federal excise taxes have not kept pace with inflation, alcoholic beverage choices are greater, and alcohol is more available. Alcohol marketers have developed high-alcohol-content lemonade and cola drinks to appeal to young taste buds that don't like the taste of alcohol. Manufacturers market alcohol by using promotional giveaways with youth appeal as come-ons.

Current strategies to solve these problems are not efficient and not enough. Underage drinking is a problem of the adults who produce, sell, and serve alcohol. Environmental strategies limit availability and establish social norms against underage drinking. Limitations on availability start by enforcing existing minimum-age purchase laws for retailers. Strategies to reduce the social availability of alcohol include enforcing laws against buying alcohol for minors, enacting laws to prevent youth attendance at parties where alcohol is served; enacting keg registration laws; and controlling on availability in general, including outlet location and density and hours of sale. Strategies that enhance the expression of social norms against use include controlling promotions for alcohol, prohibiting use of alcohol at community events or in public areas, and conductingmedia campaigns. Strategies to reduce underage drinking require a lot of coordination of agencies, with one exception-increasing the price of alcohol by increasing excise taxes.

What can be done to move forward on this issue? Increase the number of epidemiological studies to answer questions such as whether binge drinking is still defined as five or more drinks. Do more evaluations of specific interventions such as keg registration laws or prohibitions on consumption of alcohol in public areas. Support more research on alcohol advertising and promotion. Implement known and effective strategies more vigorously.

For more information, visit PIRE at www.pire.org.

Kelly Standiford, 1999-2000 National Student of the Year, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD)

Ms. Standiford started the first middle school chapter of SADD when she was in the seventh grade. SADD is a peer-to-peer student organization, for youth and by youth, that had its beginnings in 1981 when two high school students in Massachusetts died within a week of each other in alcohol-related crashes. A coach at a local high school developed a program for students to work together to prevent drinking and driving. From its first iteration, Students Against Driving Drunk, the name and the movement grew to include additional issues such as drinking in general, drug use, seat belt use, and, eventually, an even greater array of teen problems such as suicide, teen pregnancy, and gangs.

SADD now has more than 25,000 chapters with 6 million members. The program sponsors a SADD national office, State coordinators, teachers, and advisors who work with the students. The advisor is a facilitator and liaison with the school, but the students run the organization. Student officers plan meeting agendas, advertising the meetings and facilitating group discussion. They are role models and actively reach out to encourage other students to join.

SADD's message is no alcohol use. In 1982, more than 8,500 young people between the ages of 15 and 20 died; 5,380 were alcohol-related deaths. By 1995, the number of deaths had decreased to 6,226, and alcohol accounted for 2,212 of these deaths. In October, SADD is kicking off its 2000 by 2000 Campaign, which seeks to reduce the number of alcohol-related traffic deaths to 2000 in the year 2000. For more information, contact SADD at 1-877-SADD INC or e-mail [email protected].

Mr. Wilson suggested that revenue collected from the alcohol excise tax proposed by PIRE could be earmarked to support youth alcohol programs. Darlind Davis, Chief, Prevention Branch, ONDCP, said that the antidrug campaign has generated $18 million of matched funds from the televison networks that will be spent solely on alcohol problems. Ms. Davis also asked the Coordinating Council to participate in providing alcohol focused advertisements and public service announcements for the campaign.

Closing Remarks
John J. Wilson, Vice Chair, Acting Administrator, OJJDP

Mr. Wilson thanked the Council members and presenters for their participation and input and adjourned the meeting. The next meeting of the Council will be held at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and will focus on protecting children.

Date Published: October 11, 2000