Helena, MT —  In advance of Fourth of July weekend, Montana Attorney General Mike McGrath; and Shauna Helfert, Administrator Liquor Control Division, Department of Revenue; joined Erik Strickland of The Century Council, to launch a public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking and discourage adults from providing alcohol to minors. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is a national not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers. It is dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking. The launch was held at the M-T Glass Liquor Store on 11th Avenue.

“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 percent 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 or without permission,” said Strickland.

Based on the survey data stating that 65 percent of youth who drink get alcohol from their family and friends, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility created a campaign that highlights the point-of-access to alcohol by underage youth. The campaign encourages parents to play a more active role in keeping alcohol out of the hands of our nation’s youth. The key components to the campaign are a 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA), buttons and informational bottleneck hangers that provide tips for parents on how to talk with their kids about alcohol that will be distributed at the point-of-purchase.

“Among 12-20 year olds, 28.8 percent reported alcohol consumption in the past month and in Montana, the numbers are worse,” McGrath said, citing the most recent Youth Risk Behavior Survey showing that more than 48 percent of Montana high schoolers admitted drinking alcohol in the prior 30 days.

“More needs to be done, and it starts with adults. Parents, grandparents and mentors need to talk to young people about alcohol and be good role models,” he said. “More importantly, they need to remember that providing alcohol to young people is illegal and irresponsible.”

“While we need to continue discouraging underage sales, we also need to take additional steps. We need to recognize that kids get alcohol from other sources, and that kids can be very creative about obtaining alcohol,” said Helfert. “Everyone participating in today’s event is key to this campaign’s success, from adults to retailers to law enforcement. All of us need to play a role in the fight against underage drinking, to lower — and hopefully eliminate — underage drinking in Montana.”

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility will distribute the public service announcements to television stations that serve Helena and has launched the campaign in over 70 other markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2006.

Since The Foundation’s inception in 1991, approximately 10 million pieces of point-ofsale 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.

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: Lindsay Law
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
via email