Toldeo, OH —  To highlight April’s designation as Alcohol Awareness Month and to coincide with upcoming Proms and Graduations, Robert Wanucha, Market Director-Ohio & West Virginia, DIAGEO; John D’Attoma, General Manager-Nova Division, Glazer’s of Ohio; Bryan Rogers, Compliance Officer, Ohio Division of Liquor Control; and Dave Robison of Pauken Wine Shop; joined Jay Hibbard of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility for to 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 distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, partnered with these organizations to unveil the public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking and to encourage parents to talk 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. 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, with our without permission,” said Hibbard.

“In terms of past month alcohol consumption among high school seniors, the 2004 Monitoring the Future study reports underage drinking has declined 31% proportionally from 70% in 1982 to 48% in 2004. Clearly, more work needs to be done,” said D’Attoma. “As students head into the spring season and the school year draws to a close, the entire state of Ohio must join together to fight underage drinking to keep our kids safe and alcohol-free.”

In Ohio among youths under 21, there were 75 alcohol-related traffic fatalities last year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and 33 of these deaths were among 15-20 year old drinking drivers.

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 Ohio Division of Liquor Control works 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 Rogers. “I am encouraged to see so many members of the community here today to work together on this issue and help to save lives this year.”

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is distributing this public service announcement to television stations in Ohio and has launched the campaign in 50 other markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2005.

“I am on the front lines of the battle against underage drinking every day in my role at Pauken Wine Shop. 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 Dave Robison.

Working with Glazer’s of Ohio, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility plans to make the new materials available to members of the Toledo’s beverage alcohol retail community. Retailers 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.

“Alcohol producers, wholesalers, retailers, restaurants — the entire hospitality industry — need to play a role in the fight against underage drinking to lower, and hopefully eliminate, this illegal practice in Ohio. We want to be a part of that fight, and we do not want people of any age to abuse our products. DIAGEO is here today in support of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s new campaign. We hope parents in Ohio will answer an overwhelming ‘Yes!’ when asked ‘Are you doing your part to fight underage drinking?’” said Wanucha.

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. Toledo is the 51st launch of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s latest campaign. 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: Leslie Kimball
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
via email