Grand Rapids, MI — In advance of back to school season, Congressman Vernon Ehlers; MLCC Commissioner Judy Allen; Lieutenant Ralph Mason, Grand Rapids Police Department; and Rishi Makkar, Owner, International Beverage; joined Jennifer Curley 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 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 Curley.
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), 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.
"Parents need to take every opportunity, or create opportunities, to talk to their kids about underage drinking. When you talk, they really do listen," said Congressman Ehlers. "Study after study shows that kids cite their parents as the leading influence over their decision to drink or not to drink alcohol. I am delighted to be here today to stand alongside leaders in the community, working together to ensure that parents have useful information to help them have a meaningful and effective conversation with their kids about the dangers of underage drinking."
"Alcohol is accessible to our youth far too often, particularly now that we are approaching the holiday weekend and back to school season. Among 12-20 year olds, more than 30.17 percent reported past month alcohol consumption in Michigan. Clearly, more work needs to be done. Protecting the safety, particularly the safety of our city's most precious resource — our young people — is a top priority for my organization," said Commissioner Allen.
Lieutenant Mason said, "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 will be working aggressively during the back to school season and throughout the entire year to keep alcohol out of our local teens' hands."
Makkar said, "I am on the front lines of the battle against underage drinking every day at International Beverage. We all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking. The Century Council's program is just one of the many examples of how we can work to prevent underage drinking and purchasing of alcohol here in Grand Rapids."
The Century Council will distribute the public service announcements to television stations that serve Indianapolis and has launched the campaign in over 70 other markets nationwide. the campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2006.
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.
The Century Council