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EUDL: A Legacy of Protecting America’s Youth Through Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws

The following post appears courtesy of Jeff Slowikowski, Acting Administrator, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Tragic consequences can result when youth use alcohol. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, some 5,000 youth under the age of 21 die each year as a result of underage drinking, including nearly 2,000 who die on our nation’s roadways. And they are not the only victims who pay the ultimate price for the lethal cocktail of youth, alcohol, and driving. For more than a decade, the Department of Justice has worked diligently to safeguard our nation’s youth and protect the public through the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) Program, administered by its Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP). Enacted in 1998 with strong support from the late Senator Robert Byrd of West Virginia the program’s block grants support the activities of the states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. territories in preventing underage drinking through law enforcement. Through its EUDL discretionary grant program, OJJDP has addressed underage drinking problems in rural areas and launched a demonstration partnership between communities and Air Force bases in six states to reduce drinking by junior enlisted men. Training and technical assistance provided by OJJDP’s Center for Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws equip states and communities with research-based tools to help them focus their prevention, intervention, and enforcement activities. Annually, OJJDP awards nearly $25 million in EUDL funding. Research informs our efforts to address this problem. It tells us that young people who start drinking before they are 15 years old are five times more likely to experience alcohol-related problems later in life than those who began drinking when they were at least 21 years old. Research also indicates that alcohol may impair the developing adolescent brain. On August 18−20, 2010, more than 2,000 individuals from across America ─youth and adults─ who share OJJDP’s commitment to preventing underage drinking will gather in Anaheim, CA, to discuss what is being done and what needs to be done to make a difference. To this end, OJJDP’s 12th Annual National EUDL Leadership Conference will feature programs and strategies that have successfully implemented research-based strategies to reduce youth access to alcohol. I commend the hard work of all those involved in combating underage drinking and assure them of OJJDP’s continued support for our common cause. The stakes are too high for anything less.
Updated April 7, 2017