Washington, DC — Parents and children report having enough information to make a responsible decision regarding alcohol. Yet, the numbers tell a different story. Nearly one-third of youth under 21 killed in traffic crashes died in alcohol-related crashes during April, May, and June, prom and graduation season, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2002 alone, 2,902 youth under the age of 21 died in alcohol-related crashes, and 711 died during the months of April, May, and June, clearly a particularly dangerous time for our nation’s youth. It is critical that parents engage their children in direct and factual conversation about the dangers of underage drinking early and often during this perilous time of year. Over half of youth, or 59%, between the ages of 13 and 18 believe they will be faced with making a decision regarding alcohol in the next three months — in the midst of prom and graduation season — including personally drinking alcohol. But the good news is parents know it. Seventy-seven percent of parents report that they, too, expect that their kids will be faced with the decision to drink alcohol during this celebratory time of year, so often filled with peer pressure and tough decisions regarding alcohol. Data released by The Century Council finds that 97% parents believe their kids have enough information to make the right decision about alcohol, with an equal percentage of kids believing they have enough information to make the right decision regarding alcohol. In the face of parents' and kids' confidence that they have enough information to make responsible decisions about alcohol, consumption continues to remains prevalent among today's youth: 50% of students in grades 6-12 reporting monthly alcohol consumption. Parents must implement proven methods to prevent underage drinking. In the most recent survey, when parents were asked to cite the source of the information they share with their children to help prepare them to make a responsible decision about alcohol, 71% reported drawing upon their own personal experience or their spouse's experience. "Parents need to know that relying upon their own personal experiences is not enough to keep kids alcohol-free," said Chairman of The Century Council, Susan Molinari. "April is Alcohol Awareness Month and Prom and Graduation Safety Months are right around the corner "The challenge we face this year is to ensure that parents have the most accurate and science based information at their disposal so that they have effective conversations that translate into better decisions by their children." For the past 13 years The Century Council has continuously developed and implemented programs designed to serve as resources for parents and other caregivers in the community to be effective partners in the fight to keep alcohol out of the hands of kids. The Council's most recent campaign, "Are You Doing Your Part?," provides parents with both information on how kids access alcohol as well as tips for parents to have more effective conversations about alcohol with their kids. In a recent survey commissioned by The Century Council, we asked teens, 'Where do you get the alcohol that you drink?' 65% of the youth surveyed said that they got the alcohol they drink from family and friends, meaning they got it from their parents, their friends' parents, older siblings or family members or older friends, with or without permission. Based on this data, The Century Council created an awareness campaign that highlights the point of access to alcohol by underage youth and encourages parents to play a more active role in keeping alcohol out of the hands of our nation's youth. The key component of the campaign is a 30-second Public Service Announcement, as well as buttons and informational cards that provide tips for parents on how to talk with their kids about alcohol that will be distributed at the point of purchase. The Century Council has distributed this public service announcement in 30 markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2004. In addition to the new awareness campaign, The Council has several programs targeting middle school and high school aged parents and youth including Ready or Not: Talking to Kids About Alcohol, Brandon Tells His Story, Alcohol 101 for High School Seniors, and Parents, You're Not Done Yet. To learn more about The Council's educational programs which are available free of charge for students and parents, visit www.centurycouncil.org.
CONTACT: Leslie Kimball The Century Council 202-637-0077 via email