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Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse

JULY 1985

BE IT RESOLVED, that the American Bar Association recommends that policies regarding youth alcohol and drug problems include; prevention, education, treatment, law reforms, and strategies for raising the necessary fiscal resources attendant to such policies. Accordingly, the American Bar Association recommends that:

1. Illegal Sales to Minors

Criminal penalties for persons convicted of illegally selling alcohol or other drugs to minors should be greater than current penalties for such sales to adults.

2. Juvenile Offender Treatment

When a juvenile offender has been adjudicated within the juvenile justice system and has been evaluated and found to have alcohol and/or other drug abuse problems, any disposition of the case should include treatment for those problems.

Any juvenile who is detained pending trial must be given access to appropriate alcohol and/or drug treatment if evaluated and found to have alcohol and/or drug abuse problems.

3. Revocation of Driver's License

States should enact legislation authorizing a judge to completely or partially suspend or revoke the driver's license of persons under the age of 21 upon conviction of an alcohol or drug related traffic offense or upon refusal to submit to substance testing under existing state implied consent laws.

4. Youth Paraphernalia Law

Federal legislation should be enacted to prohibit transportation or shipment of drug paraphernalia, as defined in the Model Drug Paraphernalia Act, to minors either by mail through the United States Postal Service or interstate commerce.

5. Age 21 Drinking Laws

(a) All states, territories and the Department of Defense should adopt 21 years as the minimum legal age for the purchase or public possession of all alcoholic beverages.

(b) Federal legislation should continue to provide significant fiscal incentives for each state to enact and/or maintain a law establishing 21 years as the minimum legal age of purchase.

6. Forfeiture

(a) State criminal forfeiture provisions should be strengthened as avenues for curtailing drug trafficking.

(b) A significant portion of the revenues produced by federal and state civil and criminal forfeiture provisions should be specifically allocated to supplement alcohol and other drug abuse enforcement, prevention, intervention, treatment and research programs, especially for minors.

7. Surcharge

States should enact legislation providing for surcharge fines on all persons convicted of violations of the controlled substances and alcohol codes, to be used to supplement funding for prevention, intervention, treatment, and research on alcohol and other drug problems, especially for minors.

8. Dram Shop and Host Liability

States should enact statutes to establish civil liability of persons who negligently sell or serve alcohol beverages to a customer or guest whom the server knows or should know to be under the legal age when that customer or guest, as the result thereof, becomes intoxicated and injures himself, a third person, or such third person's property.

9. Alcohol Excise Taxes

Federal and state excise tax rates on alcohol should be increased and the tax on alcohol should be uniform according to alcohol content. A significant portion of such increased tax revenues should be allocated to supplement existing funds for prevention, intervention, treatment, and research concerning alcohol and other drug problems, especially for minors.

10. Child Custody and Visitation

Whenever decisions affecting custody and visitation rights are made, judges handling domestic relations cases should exercise authority to require, in order to promote the best interest of the child, the evaluation of a parent by appropriate alcohol or other drug treatment professionals, whenever the judge has credible evidence to suspect that the parent has alcohol or other drug abuse problems.

11. Child Abuse and Neglect

(a) The courts should recognize that parental or guardian alcohol and drug abuse is a frequent contributing factor in child abuse and neglect incidents, and existing neglect and other child protection laws should be utilized to assist families in dealing with alcohol and other drug abuse.

(b) Where existing child abuse and neglect laws do not enable the courts to deal with incidents in which alcohol and drug abuse are factors, these laws should be amended to provide such authority.

12. Consent to Treatment

In order to facilitate treatment of youth with alcohol and other drug problems and to remove any barriers to such treatment.

(a) States should enact statutes authorizing a minor to consent to any non-custodial, non-invasive treatment.

(b) States should enact statutes permitting a minor to obtain voluntarily custodial or invasive treatment at a state licensed facility, even if the parents, after being notified, fail to, or do not consent to such treatment programs, provided that in the absence of such consent, within 48 hours: qualified counsel is appointed for the juvenile: parents have the right to participate; an appropriate alcohol or other drug treatment professional promptly evaluates the juvenile and the proposed plan of treatment; and an appropriate judicial body reviews the treatment plan for the juvenile.

13. Discrimination in Schools

(a) School systems and other public providers of services to youth should not discriminate against a youth because he or she seeks treatment for alcohol or other drug problems.

(b) States should enact legislation as necessary to prevent such discrimination.

14. Qualified Immunity

State and federal legislation should grant to teachers and other educational personnel immunity in respect to civil liability, where they, in good faith and for reasonable cause, report in confidence to the proper school personnel the suspected abuse, possession or sale of drugs or alcohol by a student on school property.

15. Mandated Insurance

All laws that provide and regulate private and public health insurance should mandate adequate and reasonable coverage for treatment of alcohol and other drug problems, in freestanding and hospital-based, in-patient and out-patient, public and private programs, especially for youth.

16. Media Ads

Concern should be expressed about media programming which glamorizes or promotes the use of alcohol or drugs by youth. Advertising of alcohol which is directed at youth should be opposed. Appropriate entities should be encouraged to continue research and other efforts to limit the effect which media programming or advertising has upon the use of alcohol or other drugs by youth.

17. Marketing on College Campuses

Alcohol marketing strategies for college campuses that promote or tend to promote the use of alcohol by youth should be opposed, and government action should be encouraged, if necessary, to permit cooperative activity toward ending these practices.

18. Legal Training on Alcohol and Other Drug Problems

The , local bar associations, and the legal profession should:

(a) Provide through continuing legal education programs and other appropriate vehicles extensive curricula on alcohol and drug abuse education. Additional training should be given in order to properly identify, evaluate, counsel and refer young clients with alcohol and drug problems.

(b) Encourage the training and education of appropriate justice system personnel, including lawyers, regarding the contributory effect that alcohol and other drug abuse often has upon many offenders and their families in situations involving delinquent conduct or status offenses.

(c) Develop for judges and lawyers handling juvenile and domestic relations cases resources to increase awareness and intensify training and technical assistance efforts concerning alcohol and substance abuse issues. Resources should be developed to replicate these programs which are operating successfully within the nation's juvenile and family courts and communities.

19. Legal Community Peer Group Support Programs

State courts and bar authorities should establish and support peer support programs for attorneys suffering or recovering from alcohol or other drug abuse.

20. Attorney Discipline

(a) Because lawyers often play leadership roles in their communities and therefore serve as role models for youth, the bar should exercise leadership in dealing with substance abuse by providing programs for its members who suffer from alcohol and other drug problems, by utilizing appropriate disciplinary procedures and by encouraging its members to avoid abuse of alcohol and other drugs.

(b) The state court and bar disciplinary authorities should place a high priority on the adoption of appropriate model disciplinary rules regarding attorney abuse of alcohol and other drugs.