PROVIDENCE, RI — Attorney General Patrick Lynch; Amos Shepard, Allied Beverage Council; Colonel Brendan Doherty, Rhode Island State Police; Jeff Greer, Rhode Island Liquor Control; and Ralph Blackman, President & CEO of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a national not-for-profit organization funded by Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Future Brands LLC; Hood River Distillers, Inc; and Sidney Frank Importing Co. Inc., joined forces today to launch a public awareness campaign in Rhode Island to prevent underage drinking. The initiative, called “We Don’t Serve Teens,” was developed by The Federal Trade Commission and is designed to inform adults that providing underage drinkers with alcohol is unsafe, illegal, and irresponsible.
Today’s launch at McGreen’s Fine Wines & Spirits Inc. was held in conjunction with “We Don’t Serve Teens Week,” a national effort aimed at educating adults on how youth obtain the alcohol they drink and how to discourage underage drinking not only during the back to school season, but also throughout the year. Attorney General Lynch will be working with local and national partners to distribute “We Don’t Serve Teens” materials to make adults aware of the legal consequences associated with providing alcohol to people under 21. Attorney General Lynch’s event is one of seventeen events taking place nationwide from September 10th – September 21st.
“Study after study suggests that youth who illegally drink alcohol obtain it from individuals they know,” said Attorney General Lynch. “Data show, again and again, that kids cite their parents as the leading influence over their decision to drink - or not to drink - alcohol. When you talk, they really do listen. It is my hope this campaign will encourage parents to start and continue a dialogue with their teen about the dangers of underage drinking.”
“We are unveiling the We Don’t Serve Teenscampaign today to help prevent underage purchases and consumption of alcohol throughout the year. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility has found that 65% of the youth say that they get the alcohol they drink from family and friends, meaning they get it from their parents, their friends’ parents, older siblings or family members or older friends, with or without permission. Turning a blind eye is as irresponsible as putting a drink in their hands,” said Ralph Blackman of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.To determine parents’ perspective on the issue of adults providing alcohol to underage youth, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility commissioned a survey of 1,000 adults. The results show that, overwhelmingly, parents do not believe it is acceptable for other adults to provide beverage alcohol to underage youth. Ninety-six percent of adults said it is unacceptable for another parent or other adult to provide alcohol to their teenager without their permission. Further, all survey respondents said if they learned another parent or adult provided alcohol to their teenager without their permission, they would consider taking recourse against the other parent, or their child.
The top actions adults would take include:
- speaking with my child about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking (93%),
- call that adult and express my objections/feelings/opinions (86%),
- restrict my child's time at that family's house (80%),
- limit my child's relationship with that family (76%),
- notify other parents (74%), and
- punish my own child (69%).
Other actions adults report they would take if such an incident occurred include calling the police (44%), reporting the incident to the school (40%), and taking legal action, such as file charges, sue them, etc. (34%).
“Among 12-20 year olds, more than 36 percent reported past month alcohol consumption in Rhode Island (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration),” said Amos Shepard. “Protecting the safety, particularly the safety of our state’s most precious resource – our young people – is a top priority for the Allied Beverage Council. 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 Rhode Island.”
“Fighting drunk driving and underage drinking is a community effort – everyone participating in today’s event is key to this campaign’s success, from parents to law enforcement to retailers,” said Jeff Greer. “And the effort doesn’t stop here. Teachers, grandparents and anyone who works with teens in our area have the power to help us fight underage drinking.
“Underage drinking is against the law in Rhode Island. Period,” said Colonel Brendan Doherty. “While it is certainly important to discourage underage sales, kids get alcohol from other sources, and kids can be very creative about obtaining alcohol. Parents, retail establishments, community groups – we all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking.”
Allied Beverage Council will distribute point of purchase materials to 230 retail establishments in Rhode Island as a reminder to parents and other adults that providing alcohol to teens can mean serious consequences and to encourage them to speak up about underage drinking. Additionally, the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc. will distribute at least 60,000 packages of We Don’t Serve Teens materials to retailers nationwide.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility has distributed Attorney General Lynch’s radio PSA to radio stations statewide as a reminder to parents and other adults that providing alcohol to teens can mean serious consequences and to encourage them to speak up about underage drinking.
The “We Don’t Serve Teens” campaign involves a coalition of public and private sector organizations brought together by the Federal Trade Commission, that includes The Century Council, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc., the U.S. Department of Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, Students Against Destructive Decisions, the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association, the Responsible Retailing Forum, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc., the National Consumers League, and the American Beverage Licensees. Elements of the campaign include a television public service announcements, print ad, lapel pins, cold case stickers, register signs, and posters. For more information on the campaign or to order materials visit www.dontserveteens.gov.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility