Charleston, WV — Gig Robinson, West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration; and Corporal John Garten, Charleston Police Department; joined Erik Strickland of The Century Council to launch a public awareness campaign to prevent underage drinking. The Century Council is a national not-for-profit organization funded by the nation’s leading distillers and the new initiative, developed by The Federal Trade Commission and The Century Council, called “We Don’t Serve Teens,” is designed to inform adults that providing underage youth with alcohol is unsafe, illegal, and irresponsible. The launch took place at The Liquor Company on Patrick Street.
“We are unveiling our ‘We Don’t Serve Teens’ campaign today to help
prevent underage purchases and consumption of alcohol not only during
the holiday season, but also throughout the year. The Century Council
has found that nearly one in five (17%) adults believe it is acceptable
for parents to provide alcohol to their teenagers in their own home. It
is our hope this campaign will encourage parents to start and continue
a dialogue with their teen about the dangers of underage drinking.
Turning a blind eye is as irresponsible as putting a drink in their
hands,” said Erik Strickland 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 West Virginia (SAMHSA),” said Gig Robinson. “Protecting the safety, particularly the safety of our state’s most precious resource – our young people – is a top priority for the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration. 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 West Virginia.”
“While it is certainly important to discourage underage sales, kids get alcohol from other sources, and kids can be very creative about obtaining alcohol,” said Corporal John Garten. “Last year in West Virginia, 41 youths under the age of 18 were arrested for driving under the influence, 135 youths were arrested for liquor law violations, and 12 were arrested for drunkenness (UCR 2004). Parents, retail establishments, community groups – we all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking.”
The West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration will distribute point of purchase materials to 168 retail establishments in West 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. Elements of the campaign include television and radio public service announcement, print ad, lapel pins, register signs, and posters.
The Century Council will distribute the public service announcement to television stations that serve Charleston and has launched the campaign in 15 other markets nationwide so far. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2007. For more information on the campaign or to order materials visit www.dontserveteens.gov or www.centurycouncil.org.
The Century Council