Prosser, WA — Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna joined The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility to announce a statewide initiative to fight underage drinking in Washington. The initiative features a new, innovative program developed by The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility in partnership with Nickelodeon — Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix and a version designed for trusted adults in the Hispanic community, Pregunte. Eschuche. Aprenda. ¡Los niños y el alcohol no mezclan! — which recognize that the key to stopping underage drinking is communication early and often between parents and children, and provides both kids and parents with information and strategies to help jumpstart the conversation about the dangers of underage drinking, in a format and language designed specifically for them. At the launch event at Housel Middle School, Attorney General McKenna, a member of the National Association of Attorneys General Youth Access to Alcohol Task Force, was joined by Maria Tildon, Senior Vice President-External Affairs, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility; Letty Mendez, Program Manager, Washington Control Board; Shyla Shneider, Counselor, Housel Middle School; and Chief Raul Almeida, Mabton Police Department. Following today’s launch, Attorney General McKenna and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility will distribute Ask, Listen, Learn materials to middle school principals across the state. Additionally, the Foundation will distribute Public Service Announcements discussing the Ask, Listen, Learn program and the need to talk to teens about the dangers of underage drinking to television stations across Washington. “According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most kids try alcohol for their first time at the age of 12. The conversation needs to begin earlier than most parents think — as early as 9 years of age. I believe that Ask, Listen, Learn is an effective tool to reduce underage drinking and facilitate effective conversations between parents and their children,” said Attorney General McKenna. “While alcohol consumption among our nation’s youth has declined over the past 20 years, underage drinking remains unacceptably high. According to the 2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 10.9 million Americans between the ages of 12-20 report current consumption. While the prevalence of current alcohol consumption increased with increasing age, the alarming fact is first use of alcohol typically begins around age 12. By 16, 29 percent report current use of alcohol,” said Tildon. Whether or not they realize it, parents are the leading influence on kids’ decision not to drink alcohol. According to the 2003 Omnibuzz survey conducted by Teenage Research Unlimited, 65 percent of adolescents identify parents as the leading influence in their decision not to drink. What’s more, compared to other social issues, underage drinking is not a primary concern among Hispanic parents. Counselor Sheila Schneider added, “Parents involvement in their children’s lives, especially during the middle school years, can make a difference in preventing their children from consuming alcohol. Since it is also clear from research that parents have the most influence in a child’s life, in middle school relative to health behaviors, parents are on the front lines to keeping our young people alcohol-free. The bilingual program will be extremely useful in our community.” The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility is grateful to the American School Counselor Association, the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Latino Children’s Institute, the National Middle School Association and U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for providing scientific input for use in creating Ask Listen Learn. Ask, Listen, Learn is unique in that it gives both kids and parents the tools to initiate the conversation about alcohol. The program includes: • A parent’s booklet, detailing how to begin the conversation, sustain the conversation and make an impact on kids. It presents effective questions, data, conversation starters and answers to typical objections kids raise. • A kid’s booklet, with interactive games, trivia cards with questions and answers explaining the facts about alcohol (over 7 million trading cards are expected to circulate), addressing issues including how to avoid peer pressure, and creative ways to say no. It also includes an Action Against Alcohol Agreement that both kids and parents can sign. • Booklet in Spanish, designed for trusted adults to encourage an ongoing dialogue about the dangers of underage drinking including statistics on alcohol consumption in the Hispanic population, “Ayudeles A Decir,” “Eres Lo Que Tomas,” and “Acuerdo Para Hablar Sin Rodeos Sobre El Alcohol.” • Asklistenlearn.com, produced by Nickelodeon, is a website for kids with information on the dangers of underage drinking including monthly polls, information interactive games and videos, as well as more information on how to say no. • Asklistenlearnparents.com, produced by Nickelodeon, is a website for parents with additional information on how to have the conversation and links to additional national and local resources related to underage drinking. • Television advertising, produced by Nickelodeon, to encourage discussions about the dangers of underage drinking between parents and kids. Recognizing the important role that teachers, counselors and administrators play as role models and purveyors of information, The Foundation will also begin work on a teacher-focused component to the program for distribution nationwide. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility Launched in 1991, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s mission is to promote responsible decision-making regarding drinking or non-drinking of beverage alcohol and to discourage all forms of irresponsible consumption through education, communications, research, law enforcement, and other programs. Recognizing over thirteen years of progress, America’s leading distillers have promoted The Foundation’s mission by investing more than $150 million in its programs to fight drunk driving and underage drinking. For more information about Ask, Listen, Learn™ or The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, or to order a copy of the program free-of-charge, please visit www.asklistenlearnparents.com or www.responsibility.org. Nickelodeon Nickelodeon, which is celebrating its landmark 25th anniversary this year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, online, recreation, books, magazines and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in 88 million households and has been the number-one-rated basic cable network for more than eight consecutive years. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. 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.
Leslie Kimball
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility