Grand Rapids, MI — In advance of the holiday season, Rick Perkins, Director of Enforcement, Michigan Liquor Control Commission; Cathy Pavick, Executive Director, Michigan Licensed Beverage Association (MLBA); Lt. Richard Nawrocki, Grand Rapids Police Department; Scott Smith, Henry A. Fox Sales, and Rishi Makkar, Owner, International Beverage; joined Pam Beer of The Century Council to launch a public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking and discourage adults from providing alcohol to minors. The launch was held at International Beverage on East Paris St, SE. “Key to addressing the problem of underage drinking is having a sense for where youth obtain the alcohol they drink. 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,” said Beer. Based on the survey data stating that 65% of youth who drink obtain alcohol from their family and friends, The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, created a campaign that highlights the point-of-access to alcohol by underage youth. The campaign encourages parents to play a more active role in keeping alcohol out of the hands of our nation’s youth. The key component to the campaign is a 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) available in English and Spanish, buttons and informational bilingual tip cards that provide tips for parents on how to talk with their kids about alcohol that will be distributed at the point-of-purchase. “We will be working with the local wholesaler, Henry A. Fox, to make sure tip cards are distributed to retailers in Grand Rapids to encourage adults to talk to youth about the dangers of underage drinking. Over nineteen percent of 12-17 year olds reported past month alcohol consumption in Michigan,” said Perkins. “We aim to encourage parents to communicate with their teens about the dangers of underage drinking in advance of their holiday celebrations and throughout the year. The tips for parents include: be a good role model; disapprove of underage drinking; supervise your child including their online activities; reinforce that underage drinking is against the law.” Cathy Pavick from the MLBA echoed the sentiment about the importance of parental involvement. “The MLBA will do our part to make sure that alcohol stays out of the hands of underage youth. We, however, cannot do this job alone and that is why we are joining in this call to action.” “In Michigan last year, there 65 alcohol-related traffic fatalities,” said Lt. Richard Nawrocki of the Grand Rapids Police Department. “In addition, 812 youths under age 18 were arrested for driving under the influence and 5,071 youths under age 18 were arrested for liquor law violations. We will do everything we can to encourage parents to communicate with their teens about the dangers of underage drinking during the holiday season and throughout the year. Underage drinking is a community problem. Working together, we can keep our children safe and alcohol-free.” “Henry A. Fox understands we have a responsibility to do all that we can to make sure our products are used legally. Many of our employees are parents too and they want to make sure their kids stay safe,” said Scott Smith. “I am on the front lines of the battle against underage drinking every day. While it is certainly important to discourage underage sales, kids get alcohol from other sources, and kids can be very creative about obtaining alcohol. We all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking,” said Makkar. The Century Council will distribute the public service announcements to television stations that serve Grand Rapids and Detroit. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through the end of the year. Since The Council’s inception in 1991, approximately 10 million pieces of point of sale items have been distributed free of charge to retailers and wholesalers nationwide. In fact, The Council’s point of sale materials have been distributed in all 50 states. For more information about the program, log onto The Council’s Web site at www.centurycouncil.org. Launched in 1991, The Century Council is funded by America's leading distillers. The Council's mission is to promote responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol and discourage all forms of irresponsible consumption through education, communications, research, law enforcement and other programs. For more information on the Council, log onto www.centurycouncil.org.
The Century Council
The Century Council