A new study finds that states are failing to do much if anything to keep young people from being exposed to advertisements promoting alcoholic beverages. The report, issued by the Center on Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health notes eight methods, referred to as best practices, for states to limit and reduce youth exposure to such advertisements. And according to the new research findings, only 11 states implement more than one “best practice” policy – with 22 implementing none at all. In State Laws to Reduce the Impact of Alcohol Marketing on Youth: Current Status and Model Policies, CAMY researchers conclude that most states are doing inadequate jobs of keeping children from being exposed to alcohol ads in both traditional and untraditional media formats. The report found the legislative and regulatory steps taken by most states to be both “disappointing” and “inactive.”
The report assessed states on their utilization of best practices established by CAMY guidelines, including measures which prohibit alcohol advertising targeting minors, restrict outdoor alcohol ads in places children may frequent and establish jurisdictions over in-state television and radio advertising.
It’s back-to-school time on college campuses across the country, and for students that means kick-off events and lots of free stuff from local vendors eager to market themselves. At one such event on the campus green of Kennesaw State University (KSU) in Cobb County, Ga., outside Atlanta, many of those students –- including incoming freshman -– received a plastic cup, a bottle opener and a ping pong ball, all printed with the Domino’s Pizza logo and the nearest store’s phone number. If you’ve been out of the college scene for a while, this may seem a strange collection of items. But many college students know these are just the right tools for playing a drinking game called “beer pong.” The only thing missing is the beer. The rules for beer pong, much like Monopoly, vary from place to place, according to bpong.com, organizers of the Beer Pong World Series and self-styled “center of the beer pong universe.” But the overall goal is to bounce a ping-pong ball into a plastic cup. If you miss, you drink.
KENNESAW, Ga. – Convening policy-makers, law enforcement officials and representatives from the courts, The Cobb Alcohol Task Force on Monday hosted a conference to develop plans to reduce underage drinking. The daylong Justice System Response to Underage Drinking: Roadmap for Improvement held at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia, brought the “significant players to the table,” according to Alisa Bennett-Hart, Cobb Alcohol Taskforce’s public relations specialist. “Sometimes we have to get everybody together to listen to what they have to say,” Bennet-Hart said. “This [conference] is us listening.”
The morning began with presentations and an hour-long roundtable panel discussion by a mixture of experts from law enforcement, the courts and advocates. After lunch, participants split into smaller breakout sessions where they could discuss potential strategies. Each session included a mixture of law enforcement, judicial representatives and policy makers.
Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Assessment, Strategic Planning, and Implementation Initiative Grant is being offered by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) This grant hopes to reduce alcohol availability to under aged kids. The Grant Aims to accomplish this through assessment, strategic planning and program implementation. Grantees will conduct an independent assessment of both state and local underage drinking and develop a long-term plan based on that assessment. This should also help reduce traffic injuries or fatalities due to underage drinking.
Crossover Day – the second longest work day on the Georgia General Assembly calendar – has wrapped up leaving some key juvenile justice and child-focused bills dead for the 2011 session. SB 127, also known as the Juvenile Code Rewrite and HB 185, the Runaway Youth Safety Act, that would allow homeless shelters to provide emergency housing and services to runaway children, are among the measures that didn’t meet the crucial deadline. VIEW SOME OF THE KEY JUVENILE JUSTICE AND CHILD-FOCUSED LEGISLATION. “It had not made it out of [the] Rules [Committee] in time and that’s very disappointing,” says HB 185 sponsor Tom Weldon (R – Ringgold). “It looked like it was going to progress.”
HB 265, which supports Governor Nathan Deal’s recent effort to assemble a new bi-partisan council to study criminal justice reforms and make recommendations to a joint legislative committee, was overwhelmingly approved by the House, 169-1.
Police, school and public service groups across Cobb County are joining forces to fight underage drinking. They’re taking aim at parents and other adults who provide alcohol to teens in stores, at neighborhood parties, and inside homes across the area. Ten police, school and government agencies, plus MADD are working with the Cobb Alcohol Taskforce to investigate those who are selling and giving beer, alcopos and other alcoholic beverages to children. “This is not a youth problem, it’s an adult problem,” said Pat Giuliani, who chairs the Youth Services Committee of the Georgia PTA. Police chiefs from Acworth, Austell, Kennesaw, Marietta, Smyrna, Cobb Police, the Sheriff’s Office, the public schools, Kennesaw State, and Southern Polytechnic stood with representatives from MADD, the PTA, the Department of Revenue, the County Solicitor’s Office and the Cobb Alcohol Task Force at a news conference Thursday inside Kennesaw City Hall.
If you’d like to know what happens at a teenage drinking party when the parents aren’t around, check out the latest event from the Cobb Alcohol Taskforce. The Taskforce Youth Council plans to stage a mock underage drinking party inside a Marietta home. The kids are prepared to show you what goes on, and answer questions. The event is free, and only for adults, on the evening of Saturday, February 12. Registration required, click here for more info.
The Kennesaw Police Department’s response to a citizen complaint, which resulted in the arrest of 32 people involved in an underage drinking party on December 29, is to be applauded. As law enforcement officers entrusted with maintaining the peace and protecting public safety, the KPD fulfilled their duty by enforcing the law. But recent coverage (in the Marietta Daily Journal) of this incident does not tell the whole story. “According to estimates from SAMHSA [the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration] Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), on New Year’s Day 2009, an estimated 1,980 ED [emergency department] visits involved underage drinking, compared with 546 such visits on an average day that year; this represents nearly 4 times the average number of visits….The number of ED visits involving underage drinking was also generally higher on New Year’s Day than on an average day during either the Memorial Day weekend or the Fourth of July weekend.” The report cites “greater access to alcohol, less parental oversight and mixed messages from parents” as influencing this uptick in underage drinking and increased ED visits. The findings are in line with other research showing more alcohol-related problems over the winter holidays.
Hundreds of teenagers were caught up in a drunken brawl that spilled outside a nightclub in Athens, Ga. More than a dozen police officers broke up the fights and shut down the party at El Paisano on North Street Wednesday night. The Athens Banner-Herald reports that many of the teens were bloodied from fighting, including a 13-year old girl. They found cups of alcohol and a 16-year old boy holding a bottle of vodka. Three teens were arrested, including a 17-year old boy with a bloody nose, who was carrying a bag of fake crack cocaine. An off-duty Clark County sheriff’s deputy who was hired to provide security was apparently not in the club when police arrived.
December 14, 2010, Marietta, GA – The holiday season offers an excellent opportunity for parents to communicate with their children about drinking says the Cobb Alcohol Taskforce.”Children who live in homes where alcohol is not the focus of holiday celebrations and get togethers may be less likely to grow up thinking that drinking is the key ingredient to having a good time,” says Cathy Finck, Taskforce Coordinator. “Parents should keep in mind that children are very observant and may be more influenced by adult behavior than what parents actually tell them about drinking.” Recent research even suggests that holidays may be one environmental factor that can increase risk or confer protection from alcoholism within families. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, alcoholism may become more harmful to family functioning and more likely to be passed to the next generation if drinking interferes with such activities as dinner times, holidays, vacations and other family rituals. Conversely, researchers believe that maintenance of family rituals, even through years characterized by heavy drinking, may prevent alcoholism from being passed between generations.