The report was released by The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by America's leading distillers and dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking.
Heightened focus on fighting underage drinking, particularly at prom-graduation time, is critical. A survey conducted last year by The Century Council revealed that more than half of the respondent's ages 13-20 years old reported they are drinking alcoholic beverages.
Even more disturbing than the fact that youth are consuming alcohol illegally is their source -- 52 percent of those same 13-20 year olds reported they get the alcohol that they drink from their parents or their friends' parents.
Moreover, in a similar survey, when asked about discussing the dangers of drinking alcohol, parents' perception of speaking with their children varies significantly from the perception of youth. Three-quarters of parents (74 percent) report they spoke with their son or daughter about the dangers of drinking alcohol within the past week or month. However, 24 percent of teens report their parents have never spoken with them about the dangers of drinking alcohol.
"Prom and graduation season is here again - this is a time for celebration," says Susan Molinari, Chairman of The Century Council. "Unfortunately, these happy occasions sometimes involve underage drinking which can result in tragedy. It is no secret that children under 21 years old are drinking. It is therefore critical that parents keep the lines of communication open when it comes to talking to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking and drunk driving."
2003 marks the 4th annual recognition of National Prom Graduation Safety Month. The Century Council recognizes the month by implementing a multifaceted campaign designed to heighten awareness among parents, community leaders and educators to prevent drunk driving and underage drinking.
Prom Graduation Safety Month Proclamations: The Council is encouraging governors to declare May National Prom Graduation Safety Month by issuing proclamations in their states and conducting awareness campaigns during this critical time.
Engaging retailers and community leaders to prevent underage purchasing: The Council aggressively implementing its Point of Sale program, a pop-culture campaign, whose main focus is to cater to the younger generation, brings together retailers, wholesalers and community leaders committed to deterring underage purchasing. Events are scheduled throughout May and June in states across the country, including Florida, CA, Oklahoma, Ohio and Wisconsin.
Anti-underage drinking speaking tour: Another program developed by The Century Council, Brandon Tells His Story, features a young man who at the age of 17 missed his high school prom as the result of a near fatal alcohol-related car crash. Spending 3 months in a coma and several years in rehabilitation, he suffers the long-term effects of one bad decision - the decision to drink and drive.
Brandon Silveria travels to high schools across the country to spread his important message, "Make the Right Choice." Events are also scheduled throughout May and June nationwide, including California, Illinois, New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan and North Dakota.
Source: Century Council News Release.