Reach Out Now To Raise Awareness About Underage
SAMHSA has teamed up with Scholastic, Inc., on the Reach
Out Now initiative to educate students in fifth-
and sixth-grade classrooms nationwide on the dangers
of underage alcohol use. The program includes teach-ins
April 18 through 22 in every state, and provides parents
and teachers of fifth and sixth graders with resources
and materials including family guides, classroom handouts,
fact sheets, and true-false quizzes.
by the Agency’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention
(CSAP), these materials are being released as part of
April’s Alcohol Awareness Month activities.
In April, public figures, including the first ladies
of several states, will go into classrooms in their states
to teach the message about avoiding underage drinking.
There will be at least one teach-in in every state. First
ladies Patsy Riley, Alabama; Nancy Murkowski, Alaska;
Janet Huckabee, Arkansas; Columba Bush, Florida; Karen
Baldacci, Maine; Mary Easley, North Carolina; Hope Taft,
Ohio; Mary Oberst, Oregon; Mary Kaye Huntsman, Utah;
and Nancy Freudenthal, Wyoming.
Representing Hawaii, Lt. Governor James “Duke”
Aiona is scheduled to teach the curriculum.
Three first ladies, Mary Perdue of Georgia, Anita Perry
of Texas, and Barbara Richardson of New Mexico are writing
newspaper op-eds. All are members of the Leadership to
Keep Children Alcohol Free, an organization of governors’
spouses, Federal agencies, and public and private organizations.
“While we know that the majority of youth do not
drink, research tells us that people who start drinking
at early ages are more likely to have problems with alcohol
as adults,” said SAMHSA Administrator Charles G.
Curie, M.A., A.C.S.W. “SAMHSA data confirm that
the vast majority of those in treatment for alcohol misuse
had an early initiation into intoxication,” he
This is the fourth year of Reach Out Now. In
2004, Reach Out Now materials were distributed
to more than 300,000 classrooms nationwide. The materials
were developed by CSAP and Scholastic, Inc., based on
research supported by SAMHSA and the National Institute
on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the National Institutes
of Health. The public/private partnership allows SAMHSA
to merge its knowledge about underage drinking prevention
with Scholastic, Inc.’s reputation for excellence
in the development of classroom materials.
Partnering with SAMHSA in the effort are MADD, Pride
Youth Program, Inc., Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of
America, the National Family Partnership, National Association
of State Drug and Alcohol Abuse Directors, National Council
on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and the Benevolent
Protective Order of Elks.
“Starting a dialogue about underage alcohol use
isn’t easy,” said Mr. Curie. “But the
benefits of that dialogue can last a lifetime.”
Materials for teachers include:
Reach Out Now: Talk with Your Fifth Graders about
Underage Alcohol Use
Understanding the Effects of Alcohol
Alcohol: A True/False Quiz.
Materials for parents include:
Reach Out Now Family Resource Guide: Talk with Your
Fifth Grader About Underage Alcohol Use
Reach Out Now: Prevent Underage Alcohol Use by Talking
with Your Sixth Grader
Open the Door to Discussion
Learning About Peer Pressure
Reach Out Now materials and information about
the teach-ins are available on the Web at www.teachin.samhsa.gov.
To order materials, contact SAMHSA’s National Clearinghouse
for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1 (800) 729-6686.
For more information, visit www.samhsa.gov.
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