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SAMHSA News - March/April 2005, Volume 13, Number 2

Reach Out Now To Raise Awareness About Underage Drinking

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.

cover of Talk with Your Fifth Grader About Underage Alcohol UseDeveloped 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 added.

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.govEnd of Article

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Reach Out Now To Raise Awareness About Underage Drinking


SAMHSA News - March/April 2005, Volume 13, Number 2

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