Anheuser-Busch Scuttles Alcohol Energy Drinks!

June 27, 2008

 Oregon Partnership and other advocacy groups around the country are praising the decision by Anheuser-Busch to stop the sale of energy drinks containing alcohol.

The decision was in response to an investigation by state attorneys general about the detrimental health effects of the beverages and the aggressive marketing of the products targeting underage drinkers.

Anheuser-Busch said it would stop making caffeinated versions of Bud Extra and Tilt and remove the stimulant guarana from those beverages.

The brewer pledged to call on other alcohol producers to discontinue alcoholic energy drinks as part of an agreement with the Center For Science in the Public Interest.  CSPI had threatened to file a lawsuit against Anheuser-Busch.

“These beverages were nothing less than a public health hazard,” says Pete Schulberg, Communications Director of Oregon Partnership, one of the first groups to publicize the dangers of alcoholic energy drinks about a year ago.  “We’re thrilled that Anheuser-Busch got the message, and now we’re expecting Miller Brewing to follow suit.”

Anheuser-Busch and Miller Brewing Company – the two largest American brewers – are the leading producers of the alcoholic energy drinks capitalizing on the popularity of energy drinks marketed to young people.

Two years ago, Oregon Partnership helped lead the successful charge against Spykes, an Anheuser-Busch energy drink sold in two-ounce, multi-colored bottles containing 12 percent alcohol.  Anheuser-Busch eventually pulled the product from the market.

Later, the California-based Marin Institute, an alcohol industry watchdog group, released the most comprehensive report yet on alcoholic energy drinks. 

“The available research suggests that alcoholic energy drinks create a dangerous mix,” the report states. “Yet the alcohol industry markets the beverages with messages that fail to alert users to the potential for misjudging one’s intoxication.  Indeed, these messages irresponsibly suggest the beverages will enhance alertness and energy.”

The companies market these products as ways to “party all night.” On the Tilt and Bud Extra websites, they say “Move from party to after-party,” “Get your second wind,” and “Who’s up for staying out all night.”

The Marin Institute, along with Oregon Partnership, recommend that the producers of alcoholic energy drinks containing alcohol take them off the market, that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conducts research on the health and safety of energy drinks and that the Federal Trade Commission investigates energy drink producers’ marketing practices.

About Oregon Partnership:
Oregon Partnership is a statewide nonprofit that has worked to promote healthy kids and communities for well over a decade by raising awareness about drug and alcohol issues, providing prevention education in classrooms, and 24-hour crisis lines for people needing help. To learn more, visit www.orpartnership.org.

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40 Percent of Underage Drinkers Get Alcohol from Adults

June 26, 2008

 

This from CADCA ( Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America)….

A new federal report reveals that more than 40 percent of the nation´s estimated 10.8 million underage drinkers obtained their alcohol from adults of legal drinking age—including their own parents. For coalition leaders, the findings are nothing new. That´s why in many communities, social host laws have been passed to stop parents from supplying alcohol to their kids.

The report, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration this week, indicates that one in 16 underage drinkers (6.4 percent or 650,000) was given alcoholic beverages by their parents in the past month.

“In far too many instances parents directly enable their children’s underage drinking – in essence encouraging them to risk their health and wellbeing,” said Acting Surgeon General Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H, a rear admiral in the U.S. Public Health Service. “Proper parental guidance alone may not be the complete solution to this devastating public health problem – but it is a critical part.”

The report is based on a nationwide study which for the first time asked detailed questions about the behavior and social situations involved in underage drinking – a problem responsible for the deaths of more than 5,000 people under the of age 21 every year in the United States. The survey asked persons aged 12 to 20 about the nature and scope of their drinking behavior as well as the social conditions under which they drank.

Gwen Brown, from the Genesis Prevention Coalition in Atlanta, Ga., said the findings are not surprising. “Drinking is such a part of our culture that parents think it’s OK that their teens drink,” she said. “They tend to believe that it’s better to serve alcohol at home to their kids, than have them go to an establishment to drink alcohol, without realizing the type of behavior that it’s enforcing.”

Among the report’s more notable findings:
• More than half (53.9) of all people aged 12 to 20 engaged in underage drinking in their lifetime, ranging from 11.0 percent of 12 year olds to 85.5 percent of 20 year olds.
• Past month underage alcohol use was higher among non-Hispanic whites (32.6 percent) than Hispanics (25.7 percent), who in turn had a higher rate than blacks (18.8 percent). Underage current drinking rates were 27.2 percent among American Indians or Alaska Natives and 17.1 percent among Asians.
• An average of 3.5 million people aged 12 to 20 each year (9.4 percent) meet the diagnostic criteria for having an alcohol use disorder (dependence or abuse).
• About one in five people in this age group (7.2 million people) have engaged in binge drinking.
• Among youths aged 12 to 14 the rate of current drinking was higher for females than males, about equal for females and males among those aged 15 to 17 and lower for females than males among those aged 18 to 20.
• Over half of underage drinkers were at someone else’s home when they had their last drink, and 30 percent were in their own home; 9.4 percent were at a restaurant, bar or club.
• Rates of binge drinking are significantly higher among young people living with a parent who engaged in binge drinking within the past year.

Brown said community prevention efforts should include a strong parent education component, so that parents learn the facts about underage drinking. “In our parent education efforts, we need to stress the damage that alcohol has on the adolescent brain so that parents are made aware of the long-term implications of youth alcohol use,” she noted.

In Nebraska, local community leaders helped pass a social host ordinance in the state. The ordinance holds parents liable for serving alcohol to underage youth in their homes. That, coupled with a campaign launched around prom and graduation season, dubbed “Create Memories, Not Regrets. Celebrate Sober,” is helping to educate the community about the risks of serving alcohol to underage youth.

“Parents often believe that it’s OK if their teens drink while at home under their supervision. They don’t realize that they’re sending mixed messages. That’s just telling the kid that it’s OK to drink,” said Amber Berliner, Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator of Community Connections. To learn more, see the Feb. 29 issue of Coalitions Online.

In Atlanta, the Genesis Prevention Coalition is slated to launch a social marketing campaign aimed at parents. The campaign will include citywide billboards displaying messages discouraging parents from serving alcohol to their youth.

Underage Alcohol Use: Findings from the 2002-2006 National Surveys on Drug Use and Health is available at: http://oas.samhsa.gov/underage2k8/toc.htm.

 


Oregon Partnership Opposes OLCC Home Delivery Ruling

June 13, 2008

The decision by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission to allow unlimited, same-day deliveries of beer and wine to residences has put a major dent in efforts to halt the state’s underage drinking epidemic.

As a result, Oregon Partnership will closely monitor the effects of the new policy, collect data about home delivery trends from around the country, and consider backing legislation that would make it more difficult for teens, fraternities, sororities and college residences to order beer for delivery.

“This change is going to make it so much easier for teens to obtain beer and nothing good will happen from that,” said Judy Cushing, President/CEO of Oregon Partnership who testified before the OLCC, warning of huge ramifications as a result of the rule change. “How in the world is the OLCC going to enforce this?  We’re just opening the barn door to a surge in underage drinking.”

The new rule takes effect June 29th.  It replaces a temporary rule that allowed grocers to deliver up to five gallons of beer or two cases of wine. But before this year, all same-day, at home deliveries of beer and wine were banned.

“I shudder to think how easy it will be for teens to go on line and put in orders for beer for a party that night,” said Cushing. “Upwards to 30 percent of retail establishments have been found to sell alcohol to teens.  Can you imagine the abuse that will result with home deliveries?”

Dave Hogan’s article in today’s Oregonian included reaction from Cushing, who also criticized the OLCC for proposing the change for unlimited same-day delivery the afternoon before the final vote.

Click here to read the Oregonian Article.  “We work very well with the OLCC and partner with them on a variety of public service campaigns and projects involving the prevention of underage drinking,” added Cushing. “But this is a matter that should not have been changed at the very last minute before the commission took a vote.  Parents, youth service organizations and advocates should have had some time to respond to the proposal and make our views known.”

Oregon Partnership urges those who agree that it would just add to the incidence of underage drinking to write the OLCC.

About Oregon Partnership:
Oregon Partnership is a statewide nonprofit that has worked to promote healthy kids and communities for well over a decade by raising awareness about drug and alcohol issues, providing drug prevention education in classrooms, and 24-hour crisis lines for people needing help. To learn more, visit www.orpartnership.org.


Beer Pong Nintendo Game – Big Time Irresponsibility

June 3, 2008

Beer Pong on Nintendo? Not a good idea. This is the letter we sent the manufacturer…

June 2, 2008

Mr. Jag Jaeger
Vice-President
JV Games Inc.
P.O. Box 97455
Las Vegas, Nevada

Dear Sir:

We understand that JV Games is about to introduce Beer Pong games for the popular Nintendo Wii system.

As a non-profit organization involved in drug and alcohol prevention, Oregon Partnership strenuously objects to these products that promote underage drinking. And we are further concerned that these games will end up rated “T” for teen.

Games such as these are a) attractive to teens and underage drinkers b) ignore or lower the perception that it’s OK to drink to get drunk and c) an example of corporate irresponsibility.

Organizations such as ours are dedicated to educating parents and kids about the dangers of underage drinking.  We have been successful in convincing major retailers around the country to stop the sale of drinking games and other products that encourage binge drinking.

Please consider re-evaluating the launch of the Beer Pong games.  We don’t need more drunk kids, more injury and death, and more heartbreak.   

We’d be happy to provide more information about the latest research about underage drinking (the earlier teens start drinking and the more they drink, the more likely they are to develop problems with alcohol as adults).

Sincerely,

Pete Schulberg, Communications Director
Oregon Partnership