Indianapolis, IN —  In advance of Fourth of July weekend, State Senator Teresa Lubbers (District 30); Monroe Gray, President, Indianapolis City/County Council; Dave Heath, Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission; Sheriff Frank Anderson, Marion County Sheriff’s Department; Chief Michael Spears, Indianapolis Police Department; Greg Sharer, Dean of Student Services, Butler University; and Jim James, Founder and President of 21st Amendment, Inc. joined Ralph Blackman, President and CEO 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 public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking and discourage adults from providing alcohol to minors. The launch was held at 21st Amendment on North Illinois Street.

“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 Blackman.

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), 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.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to join The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s efforts to combat underage drinking. By shining a light on the enormous dangers of alcohol consumption in our youth, we hope to encourage responsible behavior in adults as well. Our message is a simple but important one: We all lose when we avoid dealing with or contribute to the problem of underage drinking,” said State Senator Lubbers.

“In advance of the Fourth of July holiday, it is important to reinforce today’s message; it is critical to talk to your kids about the dangers of underage drinking and remember that 65% percent of kids get their alcohol from friends and family,” said Gray. “The next step is for parents to take every opportunity, or create opportunities to talk to their kids about alcohol, their future depends on it.”

“Thanks to 21st Amendment, Inc., Tip cards will be distributed in all 18 21st Amendment stores in Hamilton and Marion Counties in an effort to encourage adults to talk to youth about the dangers of underage drinking,” said Heath. “Among 12-20 year olds, 26.7 percent reported past month alcohol consumption in Indiana. Clearly, more work needs to be done. Protecting the safety, particularly the safety of our city’s most precious resource — our young people — is a top priority for the commission.”

“The tips for parents include: be a good role model; disapprove of underage drinking; supervise your child including their online activities; reinforce that underage drinking is against the law. While it is encouraging to see that underage drinking among high school seniors is on the decline, we must continue to do our part in supporting awareness programs like The Foundation’s campaign,” said Sharer.

Sheriff Anderson said, “Last year in Indiana, 231 youths under the age of 18 were arrested for driving under the influence, 2,822 youths were arrested for liquor law violations, and 386 youths were arrested for drunkenness. Underage drinking is against the law in Indiana. Period. We will be working aggressively over the holiday weekend and throughout the summer to keep alcohol out of our local teens’ hands.”

“Fighting drunk driving and underage drinking is absolutely a community effort,” said Chief Spears. “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 Indiana.”

James said, “I am on the front lines of the battle against underage drinking every day at 21st Amendment Stores. We all have a role to play in the fight against underage drinking. The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility’s program is just one of the many examples of how we can work to prevent underage drinking and purchasing of alcohol here in Indiana.”

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility will distribute the public service announcements to television stations that serve Indianapolis and has launched the campaign in over 70 other markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2006.

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.

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: Lindsay Law
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
via email