Raleigh, NC — Douglas Fox, Chairman, North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission; Mike Robertson, Director, North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement; Chief Lew Nuckles, Wake County Board of Alcohol Control Law Enforcement; and Richard Jenks, Vice Chairman, Wake County Board of Alcohol Control; joined Maria Tildon, Senior Vice President-External Affairs, The Century Council today to launch The Council's new campaign at the Wake County ABC Store #17. The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by America's leading distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, partnered with these organizations to unveil the new public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking and discourage attempts to purchase alcohol by minors. "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 Century Council, 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," said Tildon. "The good news is that over the past 20 years, the number of underage drinkers has decreased. For example, underage drinking among high school seniors has declined 29% proportionally from 70% in 1982 to 50% in 2001, according to government surveys. More work needs to be done, which is why we have all joined The Council to launch this campaign to fight underage drinking in Raleigh," said Fox. "In North Carolina last year among youth under 21, there were 88 alcohol-related traffic fatalities, an increase of over 17% from 2001 to 2002 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). During the summer months last year, there were 860 alcohol-related traffic fatalities among youths under 21 nationwide. We must remind teens underage drinking is illegal and dangerous. It will not be tolerated in North Carolina. One fatality is one too many, and we must work together to keep our roads safe not only this summer, but throughout the year," said Robertson. Based on the recent survey data, The Century Council, working with the American Beverage Licensees (ABL), created a new campaign that highlights the point of access to alcohol by underage youth and 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, buttons and informational 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 Century Council is distributing this public service announcement to television stations in North Carolina and has launched the campaign in 34 other markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2004. Richard Jenks added, "The Wake County Board of Alcohol Control is on the front lines of the battle against underage drinking every day. Underage drinking in North Carolina is against the law. Period. While it is certainly important to discourage underage sales, kids get alcohol from other sources, and kids can be very creative about obtaining alcohol. Law enforcement, retailers, and most importantly parents must do everything possible to keep Wake County's teens safe." Working with ABL, The Century Council plans to make the new materials available to all members of the Raleigh beverage alcohol retail community. ABL members across the country will provide informational tip cards to parents on how to have an effective conversation about alcohol with their kids. Members of the organizations can request these materials for their retail outlets, bars and restaurants nationwide. "Law enforcement, 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 Wake County. We want to be a part of that fight, which is why we are here today in support of The Century Council's new campaign. We hope parents in Raleigh will answer an overwhelming 'Yes!' when asked 'Are you doing your part?'" said Chief Nuckles. Since The Council'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 Council's point of sale materials have been distributed in all 50 states. Raleigh is the 35th city to launch The Century Council's latest campaign. For more information about the program, log onto The Council's website at www.centurycouncil.org.
CONTACT: Leslie Kimball The Century Council 202-425-5423 via email