Aug
24
2004

Bloomfield, CT —  In advance of the Back to School season, State Representative Faith McMahon (D-15); Chief Betsy Hard, Bloomfield Police Department; Steve Downs, President, Connecticut Package Store Association; Merv Lentz, Chairman, Brescome & Barton; Dave Leon, Owner, Bloomfield Discount Liquors; joined Jay Hibbard of The Century Council today for the statewide launch of The Foundation’s public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking. The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, partnered with these organizations to unveil the 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 Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, 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 Hibbard. “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 Connecticut.”

Based on the recent survey data, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, 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.

“Law enforcement 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 Chief Betsy Hard of the Bloomfield Police Department.

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is distributing this public service announcement to television stations in Hartford and has launched the campaign in 38 other markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2004.

“As the president of the Connecticut Package Store Association representing retailers across the state, 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. We all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking,” said Downs.

Working with ABL, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility plans to make the new materials available to all members of the Hartford 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 Connecticut. 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 Connecticut will answer an overwhelming ‘Yes!’ when asked ‘Are you doing your part?’” said Lentz.

Dave Leon added, “Underage drinking is against the law in Connecticut. Period. Bloomfield Discount Liquors and its employees are proud to participate in today’s event. We will wear our buttons and encourage parents to communicate with their teens about the dangers of underage drinking.”

Since The Foundation’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 Foundation’s point of sale materials have been distributed in all 50 states. For more information about the program, log onto The Foundation’s website at www.responsibility.org.

Launched in 1991, The Century Council is funded by America's leading distillers. The Foundation's mission is to promote responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol and discourage all forms of irresponsible consumption through education, communications, research, law enforcement and other programs. For more information on the Foundation, log onto www.responsibility.org.

Contact: 
CONTACT: Leslie Kimball
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
202-425-5423
via email