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SAMHSA News - November/December 2005, Volume 13, Number 6

Efforts To Stop Underage Drinking

Reducing Demand

Part 2
The meeting also launched a national public awareness campaign developed by SAMHSA in partnership with the Ad Council, a national, non-profit organization that marshals volunteer talent from the advertising and communications industries.

The campaign, which consists of public service announcements (PSAs) for television and radio, print and Internet advertisements, and a guide for parents, is a key step toward reducing the demand for and availability of alcohol among those under age 21.

The campaign features middle-schoolers participating in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. "My name is David," the boy in one public service announcement says to a roomful of adults, who chorus back, "Hello, David."

"And in 8 years," David continues, "I'll be an alcoholic."

The goal of the materials is to get parents to start talking with their 11- to 15-year-olds about the dangers and consequences of alcohol use before they start drinking.

"We want to send a wake-up call to parents that any use of alcohol for teens involves risk, not just binge drinking or drinking and driving," explained Mr. Curie. "Parents of children and teens must recognize the importance of talking to their children early and often about alcohol, especially before they've started drinking."

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Increasing Scientific Understanding

NIAAA and other ICCPUD members are also making progress related to the objective of using research, evaluation, and surveillance to improve the effectiveness of prevention policies and programs.

"NIAAA's underage drinking initiative provides the scientific foundation for ICCPUD," said NIAAA Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D.

The recent publication of a special issue of NIAAA's journal, Alcohol and Development in Youth: A Multidisciplinary Overview, is just one example. A product of the NIAAA Interdisciplinary Team on Underage Drinking Research, the issue is a first step in NIAAA's efforts to bring the developmental perspective to bear upon the problem of underage drinking. The issue reviews and evaluates the latest research findings across the spectrum of topics related to alcohol consumption among youth. Another publication, planned for the spring, will focus on alcohol use within a developmental framework.

For more information, visit

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Stop Underage Drinking Resources

  • ICCPUD's Web site offers parents, educators, community- and faith-based organizations, young people, law enforcement, prevention specialists, and others convenient access to comprehensive Government-approved information on underage drinking.

  • "Start Talking Before They Start Drinking." To view ads from this public awareness campaign, visit the Ad Council's Web site.

  • Alcohol and Development in Youth: A Multidisciplinary Overview. This special issue of Alcohol Research & Health: The Journal of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Vol. 28, No. 3, 2004/2005, is available online.

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