|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 23, 2000
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Launches National Initiative to Prevent Underage Drinking
Governorsí Spouses Form Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free
- 3 million children ages 14 through 17 are regular drinkers who already have a confirmed alcohol problem.
- 24 percent of eighth graders have used alcohol in the last 30 days.
- More than 100,000 12-13 year-olds binge drink every month.
- Ninth graders who drink are almost twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who donít.
- 40 percent of children who begin drinking before the age of 15 will become alcoholics at some point in their lives.
The two-day conference that officially launches the national effort will examine the scope and nature of the problem, then showcase promising activities that address
underage drinking by children as young as nine years old.
States participating in the conference include:
Alaska - Susan Knowles, First Lady, Leadership Committee Member
Arkansas - Janet Huckabee, First Lady
District of Columbia - Diane Williams, First Lady
Florida - Columba Bush, First Lady, Leadership Committee Member
Idaho - Patricia Kempthorne, First Lady, Leadership Committee Member
Ohio - Hope Taft, First Lady, Leadership Committee Co-Chair
Oregon - Sharon Kitzhaber, First Lady, Leadership Committee Co-Chair
Pennsylvania - Michele Ridge, First Lady, Leadership Committee Co-Chair
Tennessee - Martha Sundquist, First Lady, Leadership Committee Member
West Virginia - Hovah Underwood, First Lady
Wisconsin - Sue Ann Thompson, First Lady, Leadership Committee Member
Five plenary discussions will explore all aspects of the problem as well as programs and activities from around the country that have shown promise in reducing
underage drinking. Among the sessions are:
- Science, Kids and Alcohol, exploring the impact of alcohol on developing children.
- The Environment in Which Kids Live, examining peer pressure, social norms, media messages and the impact of the Internet on children.
- A Youth Roundtable, during which children and young people will share their experiences.
- An Exploration of Promising Programs & Activities, including a series of panel discussions on Parents and Schools Working Together, Youth As Partners,
Community and State-Wide Efforts, and Youth-Related Alcohol Policies.
The conference will close Friday, March 24, 2000 with a Signing Ceremony in which Governorsí Spouses and state representatives will sign a "Pledge to Our
Children." The Signing Ceremony will be followed by the fifth plenary session, a discussion among all program participants about the next steps for Leadership to
Keep Children Alcohol Free and its drive to put underage drinking on the national agenda.
In addition, throughout the two-day conference, participants will be working with renowned artist Xavier Cortada to create a mural that will speak to the problem of
children and alcohol and the energy and commitment that participants bring to the effort to put underage drinking on the national agenda.
B-Roll is available including PSAs featuring some Governorsí Spouses and footage of Governorsí Spouses addressing issues of underage drinking as a group and as