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State of New York
Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services

Jennifer Farrell, 518-485-1768
Piled Higher Piled Higher Deeper And And E-Mail: communications@oasas.ny.gov
WWW Page www.oasas.ny.gov

FOR RELEASE: SEPTEMBER 21, 2004


LT. GOVERNOR DONOHUE LAUNCHES STATE-WIDE
UNDERAGE DRINKING PREVENTION CAMPAIGN
Joined by students, educators and law enforcement officials in Westchester County

Lt. Governor Mary O. Donohue was joined in Ossining, Westchester County today by students and local education and law enforcement officials in launching a multi-faceted public awareness campaign to curb underage drinking in New York State. The campaign will help educate parents, teachers, law enforcement and other community partners about common risks and warning signs and provide them with the tools they need to influence teen drinking behavior.

"Underage drinking is a community problem that needs a community solution. As students prepare to return to their schools and campuses, now is the perfect time to talk to them about the dangerous consequences of abusing alcohol. Each of us plays an important role in keeping our kids alcohol-free and this campaign will help create a healthy environment for the children of New York to live, learn and grow," said Lt. Governor Donohue.

As part of the campaign, packets of materials are being provided to community partners such as schools, colleges, faith-based organizations, law enforcement and the media to use in their efforts to fight underage drinking on the local level. Included in the packets is information about the rates on alcohol use among high school and college students, the common consequences of underage drinking, gender and ethnic differences associated with alcohol use, background on alcohol marketing targeted to youth, prevention services available in New York State, and state laws that help protect our youth from the dangers of drinking.

Many of the partners who receive materials are already working within existing community coalitions. By incorporating the Underage Drinking Not a Minor Problem logo and materials, and current research compiled by the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) into their local prevention strategy, the groups can expand their efforts while maintaining a consistent message throughout the state.

Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Commissioner William A. Gorman, Ph.D. said, "Underage drinking is not a minor problem, it is a serious issue that affects us all. Collectively, we have a responsibility to prevent the dangerous mix of teens and alcohol use."

"Alcohol is the most commonly used drug among adolescents and is closely related to absenteeism, truancy, poor grades and higher drop-out rates. Studies show that youth who begin drinking at early ages are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who abstained until age 21.

Since 1995, New York has lead the nation in implementing science-based prevention programs proven to reduce underage drinking, and this campaign is yet another model of an evidenced-based strategy that communities throughout the state can rely on to work."

Westchester County Executive Andy Spano said, "Only with the cooperation of public officials at all levels and branches of government, along with police, parents and educators, can we hope to effectively deal with the problems of underage drinking. As part of my efforts, I formed the Westchester Coalition for Drug and Alcohol Free Youth and we have initiated various educational and enforcement programs. But this is not just a Westchester problem. I'm pleased that the state is launching an educational campaign of its own."

Westchester District Attorney Jeanine Pirro said, "Underage drinking has risen to epidemic proportions across the nation and Westchester County is not immune. We all have a vested interest in the fight against underage drinking. Studies show that children who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become alcoholics. Anti-drinking community coalitions have proven to be an effective tool in combating this serious problem. This office will continue to support community and will continue to be proactive in its efforts to eradicate the sale of alcohol to minors."

Over the past five years, OASAS has worked in partnership with the New York State Police and the Division of Criminal Justice Services to develop, fund and administer statewide initiatives to reduce underage drinking including: training law enforcement and community members in underage drinking intervention strategies, college conferences and prevention efforts and developing partnerships with state agencies. OASAS focuses on local community mobilization for prevention efforts, encouraging and providing support to communities as they engage in the process of building partnerships, changing norms, and strengthening families.
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Some statistics contained in the packet include:

  • Nationally, nearly 4 out of 5 students have consumed alcohol by their senior year of high school and 95% of 12th graders report that it is fairly easy or very easy to get alcohol;
  • Card How Make Tips - To Tricks Id And Facebook Full-time college students aged 18-20 are significantly more likely to have used alcohol in the past month or to have binged compared to their peers not enrolled full time;
  • 95% of violent crimes on college campuses are alcohol-related. The majority of college rapes (90%) involve alcohol use by either the victim and/or the assailant;
  • Underage drinking accounts for 12% of all alcohol sales in the U.S., or approximately 3.6 billion drinks per year;
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  • In general, youth ages 12-20 were exposed to 8% more beer and ale advertising than adults, 14% more advertising for distilled spirits, and 12% more advertising for flavored malt beverages.

 

 


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