El Paso, TX — To highlight summer vacation season, Congressman Silvestre Reyes (D-16); Lieutenant Mark Decatur of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission; Pat McNamara, Glazer’s Distributors; and Richard Telles of Barrel House Liquors; joined Shannon Adams of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a national not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, to launch a bilingual public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking and discourage adults from providing alcohol to minors. The launch was held at Barrel House Liquors on North Zaragoza. “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% 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 Adams. “Anyone who has been to the international bridges on a Friday or Saturday night knows that underage drinking is a dangerous problem here in the El Paso-Juárez community,” said Congressman Silvestre Reyes. “According to the El Paso Police Department, 25 - 40 percent of weekly DWI apprehensions are minors. Clearly, we need to do more to fight underage drinking. It not only threatens the safety of younger El Pasoans, but the safety of our community as a whole,” said Reyes. Based on the survey data stating that 65% of youth who drink obtain 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 component to the campaign is a 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) available in English and Spanish, buttons and informational bilingual tip cards that provide tips for parents on how to talk with their kids about alcohol that will be distributed at the point-of-purchase. “The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is on the front lines of the battle against underage drinking every day. While it is certainly important to discourage underage sales, kids get alcohol from other sources, and kids can be very creative about obtaining alcohol. We all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking,” said Lieutenant Decatur. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility will distribute the public service announcements to television stations in El Paso and has launched the campaign in 54 other markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2005. “Elected officials, advocacy groups, law enforcement, wholesalers, retailers — all of us — need to play a role in the fight against underage drinking to lower, and hopefully eliminate, underage drinking in Texas. We want to be a part of that fight, which is why we are here today in support of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s campaign. We hope parents in Texas will answer an overwhelming ‘Yes!’ when asked ‘Are you doing your part?’” said Pat McNamara. Richard Telles added, “Underage drinking is against the law in Texas. Period. Barrel House Liquors is proud to participate in today’s event. We will do everything we can to encourage parents to communicate with their teens about the dangers of underage drinking.” Since The Foundation’s inception in 1991, approximately 10 million pieces of point of sale 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. El Paso is the 55th launch of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s latest campaign. For more information about the program, log onto The Foundation’s Web site at www.responsibility.org. 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