Â The Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation (LKCAFF) announced today a new nationwide effort called "ENGAGE" to address the issue of childhood alcohol consumption. The project, funded by a $20,000 grant from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), begins with forming virtual statewide partnerships in each state.
"This virtual network will allow us to organize and present webinars, promote upcoming conferences, and aggregate news feeds about what is happening around the country related to underage drinking control, law enforcement, and accessibility," said Hope Taft, President of the Board of LKCAFF. "NABCA's generous support gives us the strength to be more visible and more effective in helping children reach adulthood alcohol-free."
According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 10 million Americans between ages 12-20 report current alcohol consumption. Alcohol is the number one drug of choice among America's youth. Underage drinking is associated with academic failure, illicit drug use, tobacco use, and a range of harmful physical effects from hangovers to alcohol poisoning.
"I can see great potential in forming virtual state wide coalitions of groups interested in childhood drinking prevention," said Jim Sgueo, President and CEO of NABCA. "By all of us working together for this particular effort, many ideas and actions are sure to result in greater awareness for parents and children about childhood drinking as well as how to prevent it."
Every day, 7,000 children under age 16 try their first alcoholic beverage. Children today are drinking more aggressively than children did in the past, and early alcohol use can have serious consequences. Two in five persons who begin drinking before age 15 will become dependent on alcohol at some time in their lives. In 2004, 1.6 million youth age 12 to 17 needed treatment for alcohol use or dependence. Each year about 5,000 people under age 21 die from alcohol-related injuries involving underage drinking.
"It is clear that we must continue to make the prevention of childhood drinking a national priority," stated Michael J. Scippa, Leadership Foundation Board Member and Director of Public Affairs at Alcohol Justice. "ENGAGE" will efficiently unite underage drinking prevention efforts nationwide by building virtual statewide partnerships that, collectively, will form a national coalition on this pressing public health and safety issue."
ENGAGE is totally free to join at www.alcoholfreechildren.org, with benefits including the ability for users to develop their own sub-groups or conversations for specific underage drinking prevention tasks. It will post timely alerts, as well as success stories from the different states. Users will also be able to advertise their events to all states and recruit more people to their conferences and events.
Started in 2000, the Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation is a unique non-profit organization comprised of Governor's spouses and/or their delegates, interested parties and public and private organizations all dedicated to preventing or reducing the incidence and prevalence of childhood/underage drinking. It is the largest non-profit, non-partisan association of current and emeritus governors' spouses focused on a single issue. It produces and makes freely available materials to change the community dialogue on childhood drinking at www.alcoholfreechildren.org.
Established in 1938, NABCA is the national association representing the Control State Systems – those jurisdictions that directly control the distribution and sale of beverage alcohol within their borders. NABCA's mission is to support alcohol control systems by providing credible resources, compiling research and fostering relationships to address policy for the responsible sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.