Skillman, NJ —  Congressman Michael Ferguson (R-7) today joined The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility to announce a new program to fight underage drinking in New Jersey. The initiative features an 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. Ask, Listen, Learn 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 event at Montgomery Upper Campus Middle School, Congressman Ferguson was joined by Erik Strickland of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, Superintendent Dr. Samuel Stewart, and Principal William Robbins.

“It’s important that parents establish a dialogue with their children about the dangers of underage drinking when they are in middle school,” Congressman Ferguson said. “Statistics bear this out, as well as the kids themselves. Ask, Listen, Learn is a viable tool to help kids resist peer pressure and other influences that lead many of them to try alcohol for the first time around the age of 12. That’s alarming and needs to be fixed. Programs like this one help to do just that.”

“While alcohol consumption among our nation’s youth has declined over the past 20 years, underage drinking remains unacceptably high. According to the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 10.8 million Americans between the ages of 12-20 report current alcohol consumption. Among youth the rate of current alcohol consumption increases with increasing age, however, the alarming fact is first use of alcohol typically begins around age 12. By 16, 27 percent report current alcohol consumption,” said Strickland.

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.

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, 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 Council will also begin work on a teacher-focused component to the program for distribution nationwide. In an effort to reach trusted adults and kids in the Hispanic community, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility released Pregunte. Eschuche. Aprenda. ¡Los niños y el alcohol no mezclan! in October 2005.

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 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: Erica Moulton
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
via email