National Campaign Launched to Prevent Underage Drinking

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More than 10 million young people between 12 and 20 reported current alcohol use.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in partnership with the Ad Council, recently launched a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to prevent underage drinking.

According to the 2004 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, roughly 10.8 million underage persons ages 12 to 20 (28.7 percent) reported current alcohol use. About 7.4 million (19.6 percent) were binge drinkers who consumed five or more drinks on the same occasion, and 2.4 million (6.3 percent) were heavy drinkers who binge five or more times in a month.

“These new ads will help us create and sustain a strong national commitment to prevent and reduce underage drinking,” HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said in a release last week.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) issued a report earlier this year demonstrating that the vast majority of youth ages 12 to 17 (more than 20 million, or 83 percent) are receiving drug and alcohol prevention messages through the media. The report also showed that those who have been exposed to such messages are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.

The new campaign aims to encourage parents to speak to their children about alcohol in an effort to prevent and reduce underage drinking. The PSAs end with the tagline: “Start Talking before They Start Drinking.”

SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie said, “Parents of children and teens must change their attitudes toward teen drinking from acceptance to abstinence, and recognize the importance of talking to their children early and often about alcohol, especially before they’ve started drinking.”

The survey shows that 2 million of the alcohol-dependent adults now ages 21 or older first used alcohol before age 14. Adults who had first used alcohol before age 15 are five times more likely to become dependent than adults who first used after the legal drinking age.

Narconon Arrowhead has a team of dedicated staff working to educate young and old alike and reaches millions of people each week with anti-drug messages through the media.

“Many young people are told that drugs are dangerous, but not how or why,” said a supervisor for Narconon Arrowhead in charge of drug education and media relations, “To deter them from experimentation with these substances, it helps to project into the future what alcohol and drug use leads to and to explain that none of the 23 million people in need of substance abuse treatment ever thought they would become an addict.”

As one of the nation’s largest and most effective drug rehabilitation and education programs, Narconon Arrowhead uses the proven drug-free methodology developed by American author and humanitarian L. Ron Hubbard.

For more information on drug education and rehabilitation or to get help for a loved one in need, contact Narconon Arrowhead today at 1-800-468-6933 or visit http://www.stopaddiction.com.

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Luke Catton
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