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Legislators Asked For Underage Drinking Help

An Indiana advocate is calling on the General Assembly to create legislation to help reduce underage drinking in the state.

Beer in fridge

Photo: Aubrey Sun (Flickr)

Underage drinking critics and lawmakers alike say the state is not doing enough to stop those younger than 21 from drinking alcohol.

Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking Director Lisa Hutcheson said Indiana must change the way it’s trying to combat underage drinking.

“While a mock car crash might be an interesting thing to have at a high school, it’s not evidence-based and we know that it doesn’t change anyone’s behavior,” Hutcheson said.

Hutcheson is looking for more substantial reforms, including raising the alcohol tax and instituting a social host law, which punish adults who knowingly allow underage drinking on their property.

Senate Minority Leader Vi Simpson said the social host law is a possibility, but raising the alcohol tax is less likely. Simpson, like many other legislators, said she doesn’t like to try to change people’s behavior through the tax code, but does see benefits to additional revenue the tax increase would bring.

“We’re talking about a couple of pennies on a can of beer, then I think it probably is something that needs to be on the table,” Simpson said.

Simpson added any discussion of raising the alcohol tax will likely have to wait until the 2013 legislative session, when the budget is on the agenda.

Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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