NORFOLK, VA — Attorney General Bob McDonnell; Janet Evans of The Federal Trade Commission; Stephanie Shafer, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America; Esther Vassar, Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control; Frank Monahan, Director of ABC Bureau of Law Enforcement; and Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Future Brands LLC; Hood River Distillers, Inc; and Sidney Frank Importing Co. Inc., joined forces today to launch a public awareness campaign in Virginia to prevent underage drinking. The initiative, called “We Don’t Serve Teens,” was developed by The Federal Trade Commission and is designed to inform adults that providing underage drinkers with alcohol is unsafe, illegal, and irresponsible.
Today’s launch at ABC Store #134 in the Colley Village Shopping Center was held in conjunction with “We Don’t Serve Teens Week,” a national effort aimed at educating adults on how youth obtain the alcohol they drink and how to discourage underage drinking not only during the back to school season, but also throughout the year. Attorney General McDonnell will be working with local and national partners to distribute “We Don’t Serve Teens” materials to make adults aware of the legal consequences associated with providing alcohol to people under 21. Attorney General McDonnell’s event is one of seventeen events taking place nationwide from September 10th – September 21st.
“Study after study suggests that youth who illegally drink alcohol obtain it from individuals they know,” said Attorney General McDonnell. “Data shows, again and again, that kids cite their parents as the leading influence over their decision to drink - or not to drink - alcohol. When you talk, they really do listen. It is my hope this campaign will encourage parents to start and continue a dialogue with their teen about the dangers of underage drinking.”
“Underage drinking is not inevitable,” said the FTC’s Janet Evans. “All adults can play a role in reducing underage drinking and related injury. The We Don’t Serve Teens website, www.dontserveteens.gov, provides important information about underage drinking and tips on reducing easy underage access to alcohol.”
“We are unveiling the We Don’t Serve Teenscampaign today to help prevent underage purchases and consumption of alcohol throughout the year. The Century Council has found that 65% of the youth say that they get the alcohol they drink from family and friends, meaning they get it from their parents, their friends’ parents, older siblings or family members or older friends, with or without permission. Turning a blind eye is as irresponsible as putting a drink in their hands,” said Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council.To determine parents’ perspective on the issue of adults providing alcohol to underage youth, The Century Council commissioned a survey of 1,000 adults. The results show that, overwhelmingly, parents do not believe it is acceptable for other adults to provide beverage alcohol to underage youth. Ninety-six percent of adults said it is unacceptable for another parent or other adult to provide alcohol to their teenager without their permission. Further, all survey respondents said if they learned another parent or adult provided alcohol to their teenager without their permission, they would consider taking recourse against the other parent, or their child.
The top actions adults would take include:
- speaking with my child about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking (93%),
- call that adult and express my objections/feelings/opinions (86%),
- restrict my child's time at that family's house (80%),
- limit my child's relationship with that family (76%),
- notify other parents (74%), and
- punish my own child (69%).
Other actions adults report they would take if such an incident occurred include calling the police (44%), reporting the incident to the school (40%), and taking legal action, such as file charges, sue them, etc. (34%).
“Among 12-20 year olds, more than 27 percent reported past month alcohol consumption in Virginia (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration),” said Shafer. “Protecting the safety, particularly the safety of our state’s most precious resource – our young people – is a top priority for the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. Restaurants, wholesalers, retailers – all of us – need to play a role in the fight against underage drinking, to lower, and hopefully eliminate, underage drinking in Virginia.”
“We are working hard to ensure that teens do not have access to alcohol. But we can’t do it alone. It is our hope these point of sale materials will remind adults that serving alcohol to underage youth is unsafe, illegal and irresponsible,” Esther Vassar added.
Underage drinking is against the law in Virginia. Period,” said Frank Monahan. “While it is certainly important to discourage underage sales, kids get alcohol from other sources, and kids can be very creative about obtaining alcohol. Parents, retail establishments, community groups – we all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking.”
The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control will distribute point of purchase materials to 330 retail establishments in Virginia as a reminder to parents and other adults that providing alcohol to teens can mean serious consequences and to encourage them to speak up about underage drinking. Additionally, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc. will distribute at least 60,000 packages of We Don’t Serve Teens materials to retailers nationwide Elements of the campaign include television and radio public service announcements, print ads, lapel pins, register signs, and posters.
The Century Council has distributed Attorney General McDonnell’s radio PSA to radio stations statewide as a reminder to parents and other adults that providing alcohol to teens can mean serious consequences and to encourage them to speak up about underage drinking.The “We Don’t Serve Teens” campaign involves a coalition of public and private sector organizations brought together by the Federal Trade Commission, that includes The Century Council, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc., the U.S. Department of Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, Students Against Destructive Decisions, the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association, the Responsible Retailing Forum, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc., the National Consumers League, and the American Beverage Licensees. Elements of the campaign include a television public service announcements, print ad, lapel pins, cold case stickers, register signs, and posters. For more information on the campaign or to order materials visit www.dontserveteens.gov.
The Century Council