Knoxville, TN — In advance of the Spring Season which brings Spring Break, Prom and Graduation, Barbara Pelot, Knoxville City Council; Captain Gordon Catlett and Officer Phil Major, Knoxville Police Department; Mike Scruggs, Beverage Control: Jerry Sinclair, Knoxville Beverage Company, and Mike Williams, D&V Distributing joined Pam Beer of The Century Council, for the statewide launch of The Council’s new public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking today at Bob’s Package Store on North Winston Road.
The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, partnered with these organizations to unveil the new public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking and discourage attempts to purchase alcohol by minors.
"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," said Beer.
"The good news is that over the past 20 years, the number of underage drinkers has decreased. For example, underage drinking among high school seniors has declined 29% proportionally from 70% in 1982 to 50% in 2001, according to government surveys. More work needs to be done, which is why I’ve invited The Council to bring their campaign to Knoxville," said Pelot. "I want to keep our teens safe and alcohol-free, during the spring season and throughout the year."
"Alcohol is accessible to our young people far too often, particularly as we head into Spring," said Captain Gordon Catlett. "Among youths under 21, there were 84 alcohol-related traffic fatalities last year in Tennessee. We are working aggressively to keep alcohol out of our local teens’ hands, particularly in advance of proms and graduations."
Based on the recent survey data, The Century Council, working with the American Beverage Licensees (ABL), created anew 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 to the campaign is a 30-second Public Service Announcement, buttons and informational 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.
The Century Council is distributing this public service announcement to television stations in Knoxville and has launched the campaign in 27 other markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2004.
"Our company is 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. But we are not here to point fingers. We all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking," said Scruggs.
Working with ABL, The Century Council plans to make the new materials available to all members of the Knoxville beverage alcohol retail community. ABL members across the country will provide informational tip cards to parents on how to have an effective conversation about alcohol with their kids. Members of the organizations can request these materials for their retail outlets, bars and restaurants nationwide.
"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 Knoxville. We want to be a part of that fight, which is why we are here today in support of The Century Council’s new campaign. We hope parents in Knoxville will answer an overwhelming 'Yes!' when asked 'Are you doing your part?'" said Sinclair.
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. Knoxville is the 28th city to launch The Century Council’s latest campaign. For more information about the program, log onto The Council’s website at www.centurycouncil.org.
The Century Council