MADD Press Release

Mike Steindel (
Thu, 10 Jun 1999 01:01:06 -0700 (PDT)

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I read this press release and it seems that the drug warriors will
acknowledge that alcohol is a problem but are unwilling to part with any
of the 2 billion in advertising dollars to aid MADD in getting the
message out. These federal bureaucrats have been in power far to long...


Will Congress Cave in to Pressure from National Beer Wholesalers
Association and Partnership for a Drug-Free America by Allowing
Billion-Dollar Youth Anti-Drug Campaign to Ignore No. 1 Drug of Choice
Among Young People - Alcohol?? 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 7, 1999) --- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)
and a broad-based public health coalition today urged the Congress to
"just say no" to efforts by the National Beer Wholesalers Association,
the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and friends of the alcohol
industry in Congress, who are fighting to exclude alcohol * the No. 1
drug of choice among young people * from the most comprehensive and
expensive taxpayer-funded, youth anti-drug advertising campaign in U.S.

The ONDCP, under the direction of General McCaffrey, is conducting a
federally-funded, five-year, billion-dollar primetime advertising
campaign, in coordination with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America,
to urge the youth of America not to use drugs. MADD and other health and
safety advocates believe that this effort is "tragically flawed" in that
not one penny of the taxpayer money is used to combat underage use and
abuse of alcohol. 

Earlier this year, when General McCaffrey appeared before the House
Appropriations committee, he was asked to include alcohol in the paid
portion of this campaign. He said he would not do so, because the
legislation creating the campaign and authorizing his office was unclear
as to whether he could address alcohol. He maintained that he was only
authorized to address illicit drugs. 

However, since the passage of the 21 uniform minimum drinking age in
1984, it has been illegal for those under the age of 21 to purchase or
publicly possess alcohol. 

"Alcohol is an illicit drug for Americans under the legal minimum
drinking age of 21," said Karolyn Nunnallee, National President of MADD.
"Failure of this nation's drug policy to address alcohol and underage
drinking will turn this so-called war on drugs into another Vietnam." 

MADD and a broadly based coalition of more than 75 organizations support
including underage drinking prevention in ONDCP's "Anti-Drug Youth Media
Campaign." The coalition includes the American Medical Association, the
American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association,
the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and the Crime Prevention
Council. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to vote on
related legislation as early as this week that would open up the
five-year, billion-dollar media campaign to messages aimed at preventing
underage drinking. 

"Alcohol kills six times more young people in our country than all other
illicit drugs combined, and it is the primary gateway drug for other
illicit drug use," Nunnallee added. "Including alcohol and underage
drinking messages in this most massive youth anti-drug media campaign
will enhance the overall effectiveness of the program, not dilute it." 

U.S. Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) are
sponsoring an amendment before the House Appropriations Committee that
removes all impediments cited by ONDCP to include underage drinking
prevention messages in the primetime ad campaign. 

Appropriations Committee member Rep. Anne Northup (R-KY), the National
Beer Wholesalers Association and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America
are leading the effort to kill the Roybal-Allard / Wolf amendment. v
"The National Beer Wholesalers Association can do something MADD by law
cannot: lavish campaign contributions on Members of Congress," said
Nunnallee. "The debate over this legislation is yet another said example
of 'money talks,' and it's about time the taxpayers who are paying for
this billion-dollar ad campaign take back their government." The
National Beer Wholesalers Association fought proposed lifesaving
legislation last year to lower the drunk driving limit nationwide to .08

A recent Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study showed
that student binge drinking is the single most serious public health
problem confronting American youth. Half of all college students
surveyed who drank alcohol were binge drinkers. Of the students who
drank, 20 percent drank on 10 or more occasions in the past month and 36
percent admitted they drove after drinking. A 1996 survey by the
American Medical Association found that 33 percent of 19 and 20 year
olds consume at least four alcoholic beverages on an average night, and
20 percent have six or more drinks. 

"We are outraged by the efforts of the alcoholic-beverage industry,
particularly the beer wholesalers, to discourage the inclusion of
anti-alcohol messages in the federal government's largest and most
ambitious non-military advertising campaign to date," said George
Hacker, Director of Alcohol Policies Project at the Center for Science
in the Public Interest. "For goodness sake, these are our children." 

According to the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in 1994
underage drinking killed 6,350 youth ages 12-20, while illicit drug use
killed 980. (The most recent year when such figures are available.) 

"It is very sad that the Partnership for a Drug-Free America appears
interested in only a partial drug-free America for youth," Nunnallee
said. "The partnership is refusing to open its eyes to the brutal truth
that the earlier the onset of alcohol use, the greater the increased
risk of other illicit drug use. We can only surmise that representatives
of the Partnership from the advertising and media industries are more
concerned about keeping their major alcohol industry clients happy than
keeping our kids safe, healthy and alive." 

Brendan Brogan, 18, is the Youth Member of MADD's National Board who
became active in the fight against underage drinking after surviving a
drinking binge at age 14 that left him temporarily comatose. "It is not
a surprise that young people view alcohol as a so-called safe
alternative to illicit drugs when they are waking up to ads that dazzle
and delight by equating the popping of a cold one with beauty, sex
appeal, acceptance, success and self esteem," Brogan said. " This
irresponsible alcohol marketing blatantly targeting youth comes from the
same people in the beer industry that are now trying to set the drug
control policy in our country." 

Last month, MADD contacted the White House to ask their position on this
issue. MADD was informed that President Clinton had "no position." On
May 26th, MADD President Nunnallee sent a letter to the President and
the Vice President, and to date there has been no response from the
White House. 

Also addressing today's news conference was Carl Soderstrom, M.D.,
Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center
in Baltimore. Dr. 

Soderstrom spoke of the widespread prevalence of alcohol in death and
injury cases of young Americans resulting from blunt force and
penetrating trauma. 
Source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving

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