Sep
01
2004

Charlotte, NC —  In advance of the Back to School season, Charlotte Mayor Pat McCrory; Chief Bill Cox, Mecklenburg County Board of Alcohol Control Law Enforcement; Calvin McDougal, Chief Executive Officer, Mecklenburg County ABC Board; Douglas Fox, Chairman, North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission; Mike Robertson, Director, North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement; joined Jay Hibbard of The Century Council today for a launch of The Foundation’s public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, 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 we have all joined The Foundation to launch this campaign to fight underage drinking in Charlotte,” said Fox.

“Alcohol is accessible to our young people far too often, particularly as teens head back to school and throughout the year. I want to keep our teens safe and alcohol-free,” said Mayor McCrory. “We are working aggressively to keep alcohol out of our local teens’ hands and save lives on North Carolina’s highways.”

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.

“Representing the Mecklenburg County ABC Board, 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 McDougal.

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is distributing this public service announcement to television stations in Charlotte and has launched the campaign in 39 other markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2004.

Working with ABL, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility plans to make the new materials available to all members of the North Carolina 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.

“In North Carolina last year among youth under 21, there were 88 alcohol-related traffic fatalities, an increase of over 17% from 2001 to 2002 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During the month of September 2002, there were 242 alcohol-related traffic fatalities among youths under 21 nationwide. We must remind teens underage drinking is illegal and dangerous. It will not be tolerated in North Carolina. One fatality is one too many, and we must work together to keep our roads safe not only this summer, but throughout the year," said Robertson.

Chief Bill Cox added, “Underage drinking is against the law in Mecklenburg County and throughout North Carolina. Period. The Mecklenburg County Board of Alcohol Control Law Enforcement is 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