Charlotte, N.C. —  In advance of the winter holiday season, John Chanon, Chairman of the Mecklenburg County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; and Mary Ward, Mecklenburg County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; joined Erik Strickland of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a national not-for-profit organization funded by the nation’s leading distillers, to launch a public awareness campaign to prevent underage drinking. The new initiative developed by The Federal Trade Commission and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility called "We Don’t Serve Teens," is designed to inform adults that providing underage youth with alcohol is unsafe, illegal, and irresponsible. The launch took place at ABC Store #5 on Wilkinson Boulevard.

"We are unveiling our 'We Don’t Serve Teens' campaign today to help prevent underage purchases and consumption of alcohol not only during the holiday season, but also throughout the year. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility has found that nearly one in five (17%) adults believe it is acceptable for parents to provide alcohol to their teenagers in their own home. It is our hope this campaign will encourage parents to start and continue a dialogue with their teen about the dangers of underage drinking. Turning a blind eye is as irresponsible as putting a drink in their hands," said Erik Strickland of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility.

To determine parents' perspective on the issue of underage drinking, in particular the legal consequences, 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 and 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%)
  • 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%).

"In the most recent Youth Drug Survey completed in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System, more than 14% of youth ages 12-18 reported alcohol consumption in the last month. Of those who drank, 47.7% reported binge drinking (more than 4 drinks per setting for girls; 5 for boys) and among high school students who reported consumption in the last month — 55.5% reported binge drinking," said Chanon. "Protecting the safety, particularly the safety of our city's most precious resource — our young people — is a top priority for Mecklenburg County Alcoholic Beverage Control Board. 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 Charlotte."

"Underage drinking is illegal in the state of North Carolina, and we are working hard to ensure that teens do not have access to alcohol. But we can’t do it alone," said Ward. "We encourage parents to be good role models, let your teen know you disapprove of underage drinking, and supervise their activities. Parents, retail establishments, community groups — we all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking."

Working with the Federal Trade Commission and other national organizations including The National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), The American Beverage Licensees (ABL), and The Charmer Sunbelt Group, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility will distribute point of purchase materials to retailers and community organizations across the nation 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. Elements of the campaign include television and radio public service announcement, print ad, lapel pins, cold case stickers, register signs, and ceiling danglers.

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility has chosen North Carolina as the first state to launch the "We Don’t Serve Teens" campaign and will distribute public service announcements to television stations that serve Asheville, Greensboro and Charlotte. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2007. For more information on the campaign or to order materials visit www.dontserveteens.gov or www.responsibility.org.

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: 
CONTACT: Leslie Kimball
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
202-425-5423
via email