Public service announcements to air statewide urging parents to speak up and discourage underage drinking
Attorney General Thurbert Baker, the Federal Trade Commission and Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to stopping drunk driving and underage alcohol consumption joined forces today to launch a public awareness campaign in Georgia to prevent underage drinking. The initiative, called "We Don't Serve Teens," was developed by The Federal Trade Commission and is designed to inform adults that providing underage drinkers with alcohol is unsafe, illegal, and irresponsible. Baker and Blackman were joined at the launch of the initiative by Bob Dallas, the Director of Georgia Governor's Office of Highway Safety, Deputy Chief Carlos Banda of the Atlanta Police Department, Fred Kitchens of the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Georgia, Tom Copeland of National Distributing, and Stony McGill of the Georgia Alcohol Dealers Association.
Today's launch at Mac's Beer and Wine on Peachtree Place was held in conjunction with "We Don't Serve Teens Week," a national effort aimed at educating adults on how youth obtain the alcohol they drink and how to discourage underage drinking not only during the back to school season, but also throughout the year. Attorney General Baker will be working with local and national partners to distribute "We Don't Serve Teens" materials to make adults aware of the legal consequences associated with providing alcohol to people under 21. Attorney General Baker's event is the first of seventeen events taking place nationwide from September 10th - September 21st to launch the "We Don't Serve Teens" campaign.
"Study after study suggests that youth who illegally drink alcohol obtain it from individuals they know," said Attorney General Baker. "Those same studies reveal that kids cite their parents as the leading influence over their decision to drink - or not to drink - alcohol. When you talk, they really do listen. It is my hope this campaign will encourage parents to start and continue a dialogue with their teen about the dangers of underage drinking."
"We are unveiling the We Don't Serve Teens campaign today to help prevent underage purchases and consumption of alcohol throughout the year. The Century Council has found that 65% of the youth say that they get the alcohol they drink from family and friends, meaning they get it from their parents, their friends' parents, older siblings or family members or older friends, with or without permission. Turning a blind eye is as irresponsible as putting a drink in their hands," said Blackman.
To determine parents' perspective on the issue of adults providing alcohol to underage youth, The Century Council commissioned a survey of 1,000 adults. The results show that, overwhelmingly, parents do not believe it is acceptable for other adults to provide beverage alcohol to underage youth. Ninety-six percent of adults said it is unacceptable for another parent or other adult to provide alcohol to their teenager without their permission. Further, all survey respondents said if they learned another parent or adult provided alcohol to their teenager without their permission, they would consider taking recourse against the other parent, or their child.
The top actions adults would take include:
" speaking with my child about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking (93%),
" call that adult and express my objections/feelings/opinions (86%),
" restrict my child's time at that family's house (80%),
" limit my child's relationship with that family (76%),
" notify other parents (74%), and
" punish my own child (69%).
Other actions adults report they would take if such an incident occurred include calling the police (44%), reporting the incident to the school (40%), and taking legal action, such as file charges, sue them, etc. (34%).
"Among 12-20 year olds, more than 23 percent reported past month alcohol consumption in Georgia (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration)," said Kitchens. "Protecting the safety, particularly the safety of our state's most precious resource - our young people - is a top priority for the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America. 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 Georgia."
Copeland added, "We are working hard to ensure that teens do not have access to alcohol. But we can't do it alone. It is our hope these point of sale materials will remind adults that serving alcohol to underage youth is unsafe, illegal and irresponsible."
"Teens already lack experience behind the wheel and when mixed with alcohol, it creates a deadly combination," said Dallas. "According to new 2006 data released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol-related fatalities for 16-20 year olds increased nearly 4% while fatalities for all other age categories decreased or remained approximately flat from the previous year."
Underage drinking is against the law in Georgia. Period," said Deputy Chief Banda. "While it is certainly important to discourage underage sales, kids get alcohol from other sources, and kids can be very creative about obtaining alcohol. Parents, retail establishments, community groups - we all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking."
McGill added, "We are on the front lines of the battle against underage drinking every day in our retail stores. The Century Council's We Don't Serve Teens campaign is just one of the many examples of how we can work to prevent underage drinking and purchasing of alcohol here in Georgia. I am proud to wear my lapel pin and, as you can see, we have posted the "We Don't Serve Teens" materials throughout the store to display how committed we are to fighting underage drinking and keeping Atlanta's teens safe."
National Distributing will distribute point of purchase materials in English and Spanish to retail establishments in Atlanta. Additionally, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc. will distribute at least 60,000 packages of We Don't Serve Teens materials to retailers nationwide. The Century Council has distributed Attorney General Baker's radio PSA as reminders to parents and other adults that providing alcohol to teens can mean serious consequences and to encourage them to speak up about underage drinking.
The "We Don't Serve Teens" campaign involves a coalition of public and private sector organizations brought together by the Federal Trade Commission, that includes The Century Council, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc., the U.S. Department of Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, Students Against Destructive Decisions, the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association, the Responsible Retailing Forum, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc., the National Consumers League, and the American Beverage Licensees. Elements of the campaign include a television public service announcements, print ad, lapel pins, cold case stickers, register signs, and posters. For more information on the campaign or to order materials visit www.dontserveteens.gov.