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Discouraging Underage Drinking

Alcohol is the #1 drug for children and teens, and teens are drinking.

One in every four 12th graders (26%), almost one in every five 10th graders (19%) and one in every ten 8th graders (10%) reported binge drinking (consumed five or more drinks in a row in the last two weeks) risking:
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Traffic crashes
  • School failure and
  • Alcoholism. (Washington 2004 Healthy Youth Survey -HYS)

The Attorney General's Office works with organizations and other government agencies to educate parents and teens about the dangers of underage drinking.

Draw the Line

As a member of the state’s Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (RUAD), The Attorney Genearl's Office urges parent and retailers to “Draw the Line” against exposing youth to alcohol advertising and providing alcohol to minors by considering the following:

  • Providing alcohol to minors can cost you up to $5,000 in fines, jail time and lawsuits.
  • New advertising rules limit the number of signs on stores and advertising at community events.
  • Alcohol promotional items at public events may only be given to people 21 years of age and over.
  • Parents have the greatest influence on their children’s decisions about alcohol – learn how alcohol impacts the developing brain, and what to say to your kids.
  • Connecting with others in your community can help prevent underage drinking.

Hundreds of youth joined the campaign at the Washington Prevention Summit in Yakima this fall.


Start Talking GirlWashington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking

The Attorney General’s Office participates in the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (RUaD Coalition), whose primary goals include:

• Increasing public awareness about the harmful effects of underage drinking.
• Serving as a communication hub for underage drinking issues.
• Providing guidance that may impact public policy.
• Collecting information and concerns from local communities.
• Providing an advisory body for the OJJDP-funded Reducing Underage Drinking programs and support the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF-SIG) Advisory Council and other underage drinking-related initiatives, where appropriate.
• Reviewing, tracking, and disseminating relevant data.
• Providing opportunities to share information and coordinate efforts among state agencies, tribes, statewide organizations, and others.

The office actively participates in town halls sponsored by the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (RUaD Coalition) and his office remains an active participant in the coalition.

The 2009 Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking Campaign. The RUaD Coalition is launching a statewide education campaign to encourage parents to talk with their middle school-age children about the dangers of alcohol. Below is a list of files that provide information to help with the campaign:

We Don't Serve TeensThe Century Council: We Don't Serve Teens

The Attorney General's Office worked with the Washington Liquor Control Board, the Seattle Police Department, the Washington Traffic Safety Commission and the Washington State Patrol to unveil The Century Council’s “We Don’t Serve Teens” campaign in Spring 2007.

The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by the nation’s leading distillers, has found that 96 percent of adults believe it is unacceptable for another parent or adult to provide alcohol to their teenager without permission, but nearly one in five adults believe it is acceptable for parents to provide alcohol to their teens.

The "We Don't Serve Teens" campaign was developed to remind adults that providing underage drinkers with alcohol is unsafe, illegal, and irresponsible.

The campaign was conducted in both English and Spanish with kick-off events in Seattle and Yakima. It included:30 television and radio public service announcements, lapel pins, register signs and ceiling danglers to be distributed at the point of sale.

A lot to lose

"Girl Talk: Choices and Consequences of Underage Drinking" is a Century Council program to educate teenage girls about the dangers of underage drinking and the specific risks facing teen girls. In 2007, an estimated 8.5 million 12-20 year old girls reported consuming alcohol in the past year. Check out The Century Council's PSA contest winner: Kylee Darcy won Girl Talk’s “Reel Girls, Reel Life” contest and was given the opportunity to film her commercial with the pros.

Start Talking Before They Start Drinking
THe Attorney General's Office has also participated in the Washington State Liquor Control Board's campaign, “Start Talking Before They Start Drinking,” aimed at middle school students.

 The Century Council: Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix

In 2005, The Attorney General's Office joined The Century Council and Nickelodeon for a campaign called “Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids And Alcohol Don’t Mix.” The multimedia program, provided in English and Spanish, was designed to help parents and trusted adults talk with young people about the dangers of alcohol before they are confronted with the opportunity to drink. Though directed primarily at parents, information booklets were also made available to every middle school principal in the state of Washington.
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