Albuquerque, NM — In advance of the Spring Season which brings Spring Break, Prom and Graduation, U.S. Representative Heather Wilson (D-1st); Sheriff Darren White, Bernalillo County; Deputy Chief Paul Chavez, Albuquerque Police Department; Bob Daws, National Distributing Company; Connie Nellos, Quarter’s BBQ Restaurant and Package Liquors; joined Shannon Adams of The Century Council, to unveil The Council’s new public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking today at Quarter’s BBQ Restaurant and Package Liquors on Ellison.
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 Adams.
"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’m pleased The Council has brought this campaign to Albuquerque," said Representative Wilson.
"We are 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, and we hope the entire community will join together to fight underage drinking this spring," said Sheriff White.
"Last year in New Mexico, there were 53 alcohol-related traffic fatalities among youth under 21, an increase of over 51% from the previous year. We will be working aggressively during spring season and throughout the entire year to keep alcohol out of our local teens’ hands," said Deputy Chief Chavez. "I want to keep our teens safe and alcohol-free, during the spring season and throughout the year."
Based on the recent survey data stating that 65% of youth who drink obtain alcohol from their family and friends, 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 Albuquerque and has launched the campaign in 24 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 Albuquerque 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.
Bob Daws of National Distributing Company added, "Wholesalers and distributors are doing everything they can to prevent underage purchasing and therefore stop underage drinking. We encourage parents to join us and take an active role to keep our teens safe and alcohol-free during spring break, prom and graduation season. Parents, please talk to your teens- not just as they head out the door- but involve your teens in an active discussion about the dangers of underage drinking and drunk driving."