WICHITA, KS — To highlight the back to school season, John Davis, President-Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers (KABR) and Owner-Davis Liquor; Ross Schimmels, Executive Director, Standard Beverage; Pete Bodyk, Operations Manager, Kansas Alcoholic Beverage Control; Carolyn Jenlink, Sedgwick County Safe Communities; Sergeant Mike Stover, Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office; John Crane, School Resource Officer, Wichita Police Department; and Phil Bradley, Executive Director, Kansas Licensed Beverage Association (KLBA); joined Shannon Adams of The Century Council to unveil The Council's new public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking today at the Davis Liquor Outlet on N. Waco 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 local organizations to unveil a new public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking and to discourage attempts to purchase alcohol by minors.
"Key to addressing the problem of underage drinking is knowing 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. Yet, more work needs to be done," said Jenlink. "As students head back to school, the entire community must join together to fight underage drinking."
"As a Sergeant with the Sedgwick County Sheriff's Office, I am 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. Parents, retail establishments, community groups - we all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking," said Sergeant Stover. "We will be working aggressively in during the back to school season and throughout the entire year to keep alcohol out of our local teens' hands."
"As a Board Member of the American Beverage Licensees, I can attest to the fact that alcohol is accessible to our youth far too often. I am pleased to do my part to insure that parents have useful information to help them have a meaningful and effective conversation with their kids about the dangers of underage drinking," said Bradley. "The Century Council's program is just one of many examples of how we can work to prevent underage drinking and purchasing of alcohol here in Kansas."
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 a new 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 cards that provide tips for parents on how to talk with their kids about alcohol that will be distributed at the point of purchase.
"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 Kansas. We are a part of that fight, which is why we are here today. We support any and every effort to reduce underage access to alcohol." said Bodyk.
"I'm proud to have the Kansas Association of Beverage Retailers participate in today's event. Protecting the safety, particularly the safety of our city's most precious resource — our young people — is a top priority for my store. I plan to distribute the tip cards and proudly wear my 65% button to reinforce how seriously we are about preventing underage purchasing and underage drinking," said Davis.
The Century Council is distributing this public service announcement to television stations in Wichita as well as 6 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 Wichita 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.
"While the numbers illustrate that underage drinking has decreased, it is critical that we continue to work to get that number down to zero and knowing where kids get the alcohol they drink is a significant step toward that goal," said Schimmels.
Since The Council's inception in 1991, approximately 8 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. Wichita is the 6th city to launch The Century Council's latest campaign during the 2003 back to school season. For more information about the program, log onto The Council's website at www.centurycouncil.org.
Sr. V.P. for External Affairs
The Century Council