April is Alcohol Awareness Month, as as such, we must speak up about the harmful effects of alcohol on our country, with an urgent plea, specifically, for our state. Illinois is considering a bill (HB 494) to allow 18 to 20 year-olds to possess and consume beer and wine in a restaurant if they are with their parents, grandparents, step-parents or legal guardians. We have some concerns with this proposed legislation, which I have highlighted below.
Here are a few things you need to know about HB 0494:
Here’s the truth: Underage drinking is already a problem in many of our communities! Let’s not create another avenue where youth can access alcohol – especially through a state-approved venue.
The following quote from Michael Hilton, Acting Deputy Director for Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, sums up my thoughts on this issue perfectly:
“Underage drinking is not safe, and it’s not the case that somehow the risk is removed because the parents provided it.”
You can take action:
- HB0494 is on it’s third reading, and could be called for a vote in the House at any time. Contact your State Representative to provide your thoughts on HB0494.
- Share this alert with concerned citizens in your neighborhood and community.
- Talk to your kids about the dangers of underage drinking, and your role as community members in taking action to make your community a safer place for all.
At this very minute, LEAD staff is at a Town Hall meeting with State Rep. Barbara Wheeler, the sponsor of HB0494. We’re hoping to get some answers as to why this bill is even being proposed, and more specifically, what we can do as an organization and as a community to continue to fight the battle against underage drinking. Please feel free to contact our office with any questions.
Andy Duran, Executive Director