I’ve had the pleasure of serving as Kentucky’s Attorney General since January 2008. Every day, I do my best to keep Kentucky families safe. I know I can’t do this on my own, so it’s my pleasure to work with as many positive partners as I can.  For more than four years, it’s been my pleasure to work with The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility to share the message about the dangers of underage drinking.

The Public Service Announcements (PSA) that I have taped with The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility are meant to spark a conversation between a parent or guardian and their children. And while I hope that most voting adults in Kentucky recognize me, I know I’m probably not on the radar of someone who is in middle school!  So, in order to get the attention of the younger citizens of the Commonwealth, I’ve had the producing public service announcements (PSA) with folks they may  recognize - professional beach volleyball player and US Olympic gold medalist Misty May-Treanor; Olympic swimmer and medalist Dara Torres and this year I appeared with the most-decorated U.S. Winter Olympian of all-time and Dancing with the Stars Champion Apolo Anton Ohno!

No matter who helps to spread the message, I always hope that they help spark a conversation at home or school. According to data from 2009, nearly 24 percent  of 12-20 year olds in Kentucky have consumed alcohol in the past month. This is something that we all need to work as a team.  As a father of two young daughters, I know that there are many conversations that I will need to have with them as they grow up. The conversations may be awkward, they may be uncomfortable, but they need to happen. It’s my responsibility as a parent to talk with them about things like underage drinking and the dangers of drinking and driving.   Studies show when it comes to underage drinking, parents are the greatest influence in their children’s lives.

As Alcohol Awareness Month comes to an end, it’s not the end of our responsibilities as parents or as a positive influences in the life of a child. The message of this year’s PSA  is to say “Yes” to a healthy lifestyle and “No” to underage drinking.  A healthy lifestyle not only includes exercise and eating right, it includes making good decisions and positive choices. Parents - make sure you take some time to talk with your children.  This dialogue is not only rewarding for you, it is a lifeline for your kids.

Jack Conway is the 49th Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. As Attorney General, he is charged with representing and defending the interests of Kentuckians and serves as the State’s chief law officer. www.ag.ky.gov