Indiana — Attorney General Steve Carter and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility today announced an initiative to fight drunk driving and underage drinking in Indiana. 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 — which recognizes 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.
Attorney General Carter 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 Indiana. “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 Carter.
“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 Carter.
In addition, Attorney General Carter will travel to select cities with Brandon Silveria and his father Tony to speak to high school students about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol — and if students are under the age of 21, that the only responsible decision is not to drink. Brandon is a young man who was involved in an alcohol-related crash at age 17 just before his high school prom.
During the presentation, Brandon Silveria will tell students his wrenching story of how as a high school student he had everything a teenager could want — a job, a girlfriend and plans for the future — until he had a few drinks at a party and chose to drive home. After falling asleep at the wheel, crossing the centerline and crashing into a tree, he was left in a coma for three months and spent several years in rehabilitation. Brandon was so badly injured that basic motor functions such as walking, talking and swallowing had to be re-learned. He has permanent brain injury and suffers from dangerous seizures. Brandon’s presentations continue to receive standing ovations from students across the country.
“We must all do more to save lives in Indiana,” said Attorney General Carter. “There were 262 alcohol-related traffic fatalities last year in the state, and 48 of these deaths were among youth under 21. One death is one too many. We must do more to keep the teens of Indiana safe and alcohol-free. I am so proud to travel across Indiana with Brandon and Tony Silveria to communicate their life-saving message to young drivers.”
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.
• 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. Also, in an effort to provide Spanish-speaking parents and kids with culturally sensitive resources to help them fight underage drinking, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility will release program components in Spanish later this month.
For more information on Ask, Listen, Learn or the Silveria program visit www.responsibility.org
October 3 — Brandon Tells His Story - South Bend, IN — Adams High School
October 4 — Brandon Tells His Story - Ft. Wayne, IN — Elmhurst High School
October 5 — Brandon Tells His Story — New Albany, IN — New Albany High School
October 6 — Ask, Listen, Learn launch — Indianapolis, IN — Henry Longfellow Middle School
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