Action Alert: Action Needed Before 8am Tues. – Alcoholic Energy Drinks

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Action Alert

Dear Friend of Texans Standing Tall,

Your action is needed – before 8am tomorrow (Tues.) morning!

Please be aware of the opportunity to submit testimony at an upcoming House Committee on Licensing and Administrative Procedures hearing on House Bill 882 related to alcoholic energy drinks. Submitting testimony is an important step in giving the prevention community voice on this issue.

Below, please find the talking points to help you in preparing testimony. You may also

In this email you will find:
• Information about the hearing
• How to prepare testimony
• Talking points on the issue

You can access the Alcoholic Energy Drinks Issue Brief on the TST website under "Get Equipped."

If you have any questions, want more information, need assistance don't hesitate to contact Alex Tapia at StrategySpecialist@TexansStandingTall.org or 512-442-7501.

Thanks,

Alex

Hearing Information:

Tuesday, March 22, 2011, 8:05 AM
Austin, Capitol Extension Bldg., Room E2.012

Please contact TST if you plan to attend so we can coordinate efforts. If you are unable to attend in person you may contact members of the committee directly via email. If you do send an email, please copy strategyspecialist@texansstandingtall.org.

To Send Testimony/Comments – Not in Person:
• Email or fax your testimony to each individual representative on the committee.
• You could also place a phone call – stating your position to each office.
• House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee Members:

District
Name
Home Town
Capitol Phone
Email
Fax

19 - R : Mike Hamilton
Mauriceville
(512) 463-0412
mike.hamilton@house.state.tx.us
(512) 463-1915

75 - D: Chente Quntanilla
El Paso
(512) 463-0613
chente.quintanilla@house.state.tx.us
(512) 463-1237

113 - R : Joe Driver
Garland
(512) 463-0574
joe.driver@house.state.tx.us
(972) 276-8207

99 - R : Charlie Geren
River Oaks
(512) 463-0610
charlie.geren@house.state.tx.us
(817) 738-8362

119 - D: Roland Gutierrez
San Antonio
(512) 463-0452
roland.gutierrez@house.state.tx.us
(210) 532-3830

126 - R : Patricia Harless
Spring
(512) 463-0496
patricia.harless@house.state.tx.us
(281) 826-0101

44 - R : John Langston Kuempel
Seguin
(512) 463-0602
john.keumpel@house.state.tx.us
(512) 480-0391

124 - D : Jose Menedez
San Antonio
(512) 463-0634
jose.menendez@house.state.tx.us
(512) 463-7668

141 - D : Senfronia Paige Thompson
Houston
(512) 463-0720
sefronia.paige@house.state.tx.us
(713) 633-7830

Public Hearings & Submitting Testimony

Public hearings are an opportunity to voice your opinion through testimony (written or spoken) in a formal setting.

As a general rule, written testimony should be no more than two typed pages, single-spaced. Write clearly and concisely and avoid using jargon.

Anticipate that the staffers and legislators that read your testimony are intelligent and well educated, but will not have professional experience in the prevention field.

Writing your testimony

Write it out first.
Whether you plan to give your testimony vocally or in writing, write it out and give a copy to each committee member.
Identify yourself and explain why the issue is important to you.
For example, your testimony might begin: "My name is [Your Name] and I am a member of Texans Standing Tall, the statewide coalition to make alcohol, tobacco and other drugs irrelevant in the lives of youth. As a parent preventing underage drinking is very important to me."
Thank the committee for their time.
Include a local anecdote, in five sentences or less, demonstrating your opinion on banning alcoholic energy drinks in Texas.
Briefly educate the decision makers on your opinion on the dangers of alcoholic energy drinks.
Before attending a public meeting:

• Know the logistics.

o Where is the hearing? Is space limited? What time does it start/end? Where do I park? Will I need to do a lot of walking?

• Rehearse what you plan to say.

o Practicing in front of others or a mirror works wonders.

o Time yourself. If they have a time limit they typically will cut you off if you don't finish on time. If they have a lot of people speaking, they appreciate brevity.

• Prepare your materials.

o Prepare a written copy of your testimony and any additional information to leave the committee. Plan ahead to make sure you are bringing the right number, the best information on the issue, AND that you're not overwhelming them with paperwork. One issue brief or fact sheet and another document or report is more than enough.

o Bring enough copies for staff as well – especially if you know they are the committee coordinator or the staffer responsible for your particular issue.

Tips for giving your testimony:

Use your written testimony as a script.
Writing out your testimony in advance will help.
Be polite and courteous!
This includes dressing appropriately and thanking the committee for their time.
Don't use acronyms and jargon.
Using technical and industry specific language will cause confusion.
Take notes!
If a committee member wants more information, write it down so you don't forget.
Deliver the information promised as soon as possible.
After giving your testimony:

If you mail your written testimony, a few days later call the committee clerk/staffer to make sure that it was received.
If you fax or email the testimony, call the same day.
Keep a copy for yourself, and please send a copy of your testimony to Texans Standing Tall for our files.
Talking Points on HB 882. Use these as a guideline to create your own argument.

Current Actions:
• The Food and Drug Administration has declared caffeine an "unsafe food additive" but did not rule on other stimulant ingredients.
• The TABC voluntary recall of alcoholic energy drinks stops short of banning these across the state.
• Legislature can keep these dangerous beverages out of the hands of youth.
• Current propose legislation – HB 882 – does not include other stimulant ingredients which could cause the same effects as caffeine.

About Alcoholic Energy Drinks:
• Prepackaged, sweet beverages containing alcohol, caffeine, and other stimulants.
• Alcoholic energy drinks create a "wide awake drunk" – especially with youth.
• The addition of stimulants masks the sensation of drunkenness, leading to dangerous behaviors such as alcohol poisoning, drunk driving, and other risky behaviors.
• The drinks are built on the popularity of non-alcoholic energy drinks.
• The marketing tactics employed by the creators appeal largely to the youth market.
• Brand Confusion - The packaging of alcoholic energy drinks looks very similar to those that contain no alcohol, making it more difficult for retailers, clerks, and parents to tell the difference between the alcoholic energy drinks and their non-alcoholic energy drink.

Health Concerns:
• It is very important to consider caffeine and/or other stimulants including, but not limited to, guarana, ginseng and taurine as part of a statewide ban.
• Both stimulants and alcohol are very dehydrating. Dehydration can hinder the body's ability to metabolize alcohol and will increase the toxicity and potential for alcohol poisoning.
• Fatigue is one way the body tells someone that they've had enough to drink.

Other Talking Points:
Remember to write from your perspective. Examples: parent, community leader, taxpayer, teacher, business owner, consumer, student, law enforcement.
• Alcopops and alcoholic energy drinks are youth appealing and marketed in places where youth frequent like the Internet, social networking sites, sporting event sponsorships and magazines.
• The drinks are designed to closely resemble their nonalcoholic counter parts which makes it difficult for anyone, especially adults, to identify which is alcoholic and which is nonalcoholic.
• The alcoholic energy drinks are considerably less- 30-40 cents- than nonalcoholic drinks and youth are price sensitive.
• Deceptively advertised as energy cocktails, giving the drinker the energy and power to go all night without stating the possible consequences (dehydration, alcohol poisoning).
• Like alcopops, alcoholic energy drinks neither taste nor look like beer although they are sold as a malt beverage (beer).
• Alcohol is the number one drug problem among youth and is frequently involved in the top causes of death among teens –automobile crashes, homicides, suicides.
• The deceptive labeling of the product makes it difficult for law enforcement, parents, teachers, retailers, and even teens to distinguish between an alcoholic and nonalcoholic energy drink.
• The claims about positive energizing effects of the alcoholic drinks deceive the drinker into a false sense of security. It makes the true results of intoxication and does not disclose the potentially severe, adverse consequences of mixing stimulants with alcohol.
• The true effects can put the drinker at increased risk for injury, alcohol poisoning, and risky sexual behavior and hinder their ability to determine when to stop drinking.
• If you set a juice, a can of soda and a can of beer side by side, you can easily determine which is which. When you set some alcopops next to some bottles of soda, it can be difficult to determine the difference. However, when you place an alcoholic energy drink next to a nonalcoholic energy drink, it is almost impossible to tell the difference without a close examination of the can.

Texans Standing Tall
2211 South IH-35, Suite 201
Austin, Texas 78741
(512) 442-7501

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