Hyannis, MA — To highlight the prevalence of underage drinking, often accelerated during the summer months-particularly the July 4th holiday, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Massachusetts and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility today joined forces to announce the launch of a new public awareness campaign aimed at preventing the growing problem of underage drinking in Massachusetts.
Robert Buckley, President, Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Massachusetts; Frank Anzalotti, Executive Director, Massachusetts Package Store Association; and Donald Corey, Blanchard’s Liquors; joined Jay Hibbard of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility today to launch The Foundation’s campaign. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, partnered with representatives from various public and private entities to raise awareness among parents about how kids get the alcohol they drink, and emphasize the importance of talking to their teens about the dangers of underage drinking.
“Key to addressing the problem of underage drinking is having a sense for where youth obtain the alcohol they drink,” said Hibbard. “In a recent survey commissioned by The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, we asked teens, ‘Where do you get the alcohol that you drink?’ An alarming 65% of the youth surveyed said that they got alcohol from family and friends, meaning parents, their friends’ parents, older siblings or family members or older friends, with or without permission.”
Robert Buckley added, “Underage drinking is against the law in Massachusetts. Period. The Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of Massachusetts are proud to participate in today’s event. As responsible businesspeople, we will do everything we can to encourage parents to communicate with their teens about the dangers of underage drinking, and are proud to do our part to fight underage drinking in Massachusetts.”
“In Massachusetts last year among youth under 21, there were 49 alcohol-related traffic fatalities, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). We must remind teens that underage drinking is illegal and dangerous, and it will not be tolerated in Massachusetts. With the efforts local retailers, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of Massachusetts, and the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, we are working together to keep our teens safe and healthy during this July 4th Holiday and throughout the year,” added Hibbard.
“Alcohol is accessible to our young people far too often, particularly during a summer holiday weekend such as the 4th of July. I want to keep our teens safe and alcohol-free,” said Donald Corey of Blanchard’s Liquors. “We are working aggressively to keep alcohol out of our teens’ hands throughout Massachusetts.”
Based on the recent survey data, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility 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 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.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is distributing this public service announcement in the area and has launched the campaign in 54 other markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across Massachusetts throughout 2005, in fact visiting Springfield next week.
Working with the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Massachusetts, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility plans to make the new materials available to participating members of the Massachusetts beverage alcohol retail community. Members will provide informational tip cards to parents on how to have an effective conversation about alcohol with their kids. Members of the organization can request these materials for their retail outlets, bars and restaurants throughout the state.
“Among people under 18 years of age in Massachusetts, there were 131 arrests for DUI and 931 arrests for Liquor Law violations, and 296 arrests for drunkenness according to 2003 FBI Uniform Crime Report Arrest Data with 278 Massachusetts agencies reporting. We must do everything we can to bring those numbers down — to make sure that alcohol is not in the hands of youths under 21. I am proud to stand here today with so many willing community leaders to do everything we can to fight underage drinking in Cambridge and throughout Massachusetts,” said Anzalotti.
Since The Foundation’s inceptions in 1991, approximately 10 million pieces of point of sale items have been distributed free of charge to retailers and wholesalers nationwide. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’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 Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility 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