Memphis, TN — In advance of the Spring Season which brings Spring Break, Prom and Graduation, Sheriff Mark Lutrell, Shelby County Sheriffs Office; Barry Mitchell, Chief Probation Officer, Memphis and Shelby County Juvenile Court; John Barzizza, President, Southwestern Wine & Liquor; Josh Hammond, co-owner Busters Liquors; joined Pam Beer of The Century Council, to launch The Council’s new public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking today at Buster’s Liquors on South Highland.
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.
"Last year during the traditional Spring Break time period, 1,412 youth under the age of 21 were killed in traffic crashes. Of these fatalities, 451 youths lost their life in alcohol-related crashes. Local officials work tirelessly to be certain we keep our citizens safe by doing community projects and prevention. Yet, we must do this in partnership with many other members of the community- including parents, schools, community leaders, and members of the media to help spread our message," said Sheriff Lutrell.
"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 Memphis," said Mitchell. "I want to keep our teens safe and alcohol-free, during the spring season and throughout the year."
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 Memphis and has launched the campaign in 29 other markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2004.
Working with ABL, The Century Council plans to make the new materials available to all members of the Memphis 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 Memphis. 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 Memphis will answer an overwhelming 'Yes!' when asked 'Are you doing your part?'" said Barzizza.
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. Memphis is the 30th 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