Amherst, NY — In advance of the Winter Holidays, New York State Senator George Maziarz (R-62); Erie County Sheriff Patrick Gallivan, Jim McKenzie, Owner, Wine World; Steve Glamuzina, President, Empire State Liquor Dealers; and Maria Tildon of The Century Council came together to unveil The Council's new public awareness campaign designed to prevent underage drinking today at Wine World on Niagara Falls Boulevard. 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 local 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. Yet, more work needs to be done," said Senator Maziarz.
Sheriff Gallivan added, "We are on the front lines of the battle against underage drinking every day. While it is certainly important to discourage underage sales, I was startled to learn that so many kids get alcohol from friends and family. Yet, survey after survey shows that kids identify their parents, overwhelmingly, as the leading influence in their decision not to drink at all or not to drink on occasion. Parents should be encouraged by this news. It means their kids are listening. Parents retail establishments, community groups, everyone needs to be empowered by this information and continue to talk with their kids about the dangers of underage drinking."
Based on the recent survey data stating that 65% of youth who drink obtain alcohol from their family and friends, 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 cards that provide tips for parents on how to talk with their kids about alcohol that will be distributed at the point of purchase.
"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 New York. 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 the Buffalo area will answer an overwhelming 'Yes!' when asked 'Are you doing your part?'" said Glamuzina.
"Alcohol is accessible to our young people far too often, particularly as we head into the Holiday Season," said McKenzie. "Last year in New York, 1,085 youths under the age of 18 were arrested for liquor law violations. We will be working aggressively in during the back to school season and throughout the entire year to keep alcohol out of our local teens' hands."
The Century Council is distributing this public service announcement to television stations in the Buffalo area and has launched the campaign in 9 other markets nationwide. The campaign will continue to be rolled out in cities across the country through 2004.
Working with ABL, The Century Council plans to make the new materials available to all members of the Buffalo 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.
"On behalf of Colony Distributors, we are pleased that The Council is raising awareness about an issue we have known about for a long time. Distributors, retailers, and those of us in the retail community cannot fight underage drinking and underage purchasing alone. We must have the support of all facets of the Buffalo community, and I am very encouraged to see so many members today," said Andretta.
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. Buffalo is the 10th city to launch The Century Council's latest campaign during the 2003 back to school season. For more information about the program, log onto The Council's website at www.centurycouncil.org.
The Century Council