OREGON PARTNERSHIP SAYS CLAIRE’S RESPONSE TO FLASK FLAP COMES UP WOEFULLY SHORT

January 29, 2009

Responding to calls to stop selling alcohol flasks in its stores catering to teen customers, Icing by Claire’s says it will continue selling the flasks at its 3,000 stores.  But according to a company spokesman, the store will post signs at store counters supporting “responsible” alcohol consumption.

The multi-colored flasks with a myriad of designs are predominantly displayed at Icing by Claire’s stores, which according to the company website, focus on a customer base that includes teenage girls.

Earlier this month, Oregon Partnership, a non-profit group dedicated to  combating underage drinking and drug abuse, had written CEO Eugene S. Kahn of Claire’s Stores, Inc., to discontinue flask sales.

“Deciding to continue selling the flasks, complete with chains, charms, and colors, sends a bevy of  messages – none of them good or responsible – to teenage girls,” says Pete Schulberg, Communications Director of Oregon Partnership. “In Oregon and around the country, teen girls are drinking more and drinking younger.”

Icing by Claire’s is a costume jewelry and accessory store targeting young women.  It is a subsidiary of the tween accessory chain store Claire’s.

The flasks hold five ounces and cost $12.50.  Some of the designs include leopard skin, a peace symbol, and the Empire State Building.

“When it comes to preventing underage drinking, parents are the biggest influence on their kids,” says Schulberg. “But we don’t understand why a major retailer such as Claire’s would want to spread the perception among young girls that drinking is fun and cool.”

Last year, responding to Oregon Partnership’s request, Nordstrom agreed to stop the sale of flip-flops with built-in flasks.

After complaints by Oregon Partnership, Macy’s and Bloomingdales decided to take beer t-shirts off their shelves, which received substantial positive attention in the national media.  Other national chains have discontinued the sale of drinking games and other similar products.

Oregon Partnership and other anti-drug coalitions are making real inroads in informing parents, educators, and the business community about how alcohol use among adolescents is even more dangerous to their developing brains than previously believed.

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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OREGON PARTNERSHIP TO CLAIRE’S STORES: DON’T SELL FLASKS TO YOUNG CUSTOMERS!

January 26, 2009

(Portland, Oregon)  Oregon Partnership has asked the CEO of Claire’s Stores, Inc. to stop the sale of alcohol flasks in its Icing by Claire’s stores.

The multi-colored flasks are predominantly displayed at the checkout counters at Icing by Claire’s stores, which according to the company website, focus on a customer base that includes teenage girls.

“Offering these products to teens is shocking,” Oregon Partnership Communications Director, Pete Schulberg, wrote in a letter to Eugene S. Kahn at Claire’s company headquarters in Pembroke Pines, Florida. “And it’s not worthy of your company’s record in the area of social responsibility.”

Icing by Claire’s is a costume jewelry and accessory store targeting young women.

As Oregon Partnership’s letter points out, underage drinking is a growing problem in our country.  Massive amounts of advertising and promotion by beer companies and other alcohol manufacturers make it that much harder to reverse the trend and change the culture of underage drinking.

Recent research in Oregon shows that more teenage girls are outdrinking boys, resulting in a myriad of other problems including sexual assault, unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

After complaints by Oregon Partnership, Macy’s and Bloomingdales decided to take beer t-shirts off their shelves, which received substantial positive attention in the national media.  Other national chains have discontinued the sale of drinking games and other similar products.

Oregon Partnership and other anti-drug coalitions are making real inroads in informing parents, educators, and the business community about how alcohol use among adolescents is even more dangerous to their developing brains than previously believed.
 
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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Oregon Partnership’s Suicide Prevention Line Might Have Helped

January 21, 2009

Anna Griffin’s column in today’s Oregonian about a man who tried to kill himself  and then tried to get help was compelling…

http://www.oregonlive.com/news/oregonian/anna_griffin

I’m curious if the gentleman ever called our suicide prevention line, the only nationally-certified suicide line in Oregon.

The difference between 2-1-1 and 1-800-273-TALK (our line)  is that 2-1-1 is not mental health-based.  While it’s true that treatment center availability is slim and as you pointed out, often none….at least our volunteers have 16 hours of specialized training in suicide prevention and crisis counseling, our callers can call us every day, and we can continue offering them counseling, advice, and compassion.

By the way, with this economy, our call volume is way up.

We had a recent caller who told us that being able to talk to us every day “is saving her life.”


Peter Jacobsen’s Special Round at Oregon Partnership

January 15, 2009

One of Oregon’s most admired celebrities demonstrated his enthusiastic support of Oregon Partnership this week, meeting with OP staff and later speaking to 5th graders at Portland’s Stephenson Elementary School.

Professional golfer Peter Jacobsen has a longtime relationship with Oregon Partnership, having first come into contact with the organization during its early days when he was a parent of young children.

“And now I’m a grandfather!” said Jacobsen, who was accompanied at OP headquarters by his daughter Amy, the mother of a one-year son.

“With alcohol and drug prevention and suicide prevention, we never stop learning and never stop helping others,” remarked Jacobsen during his January visit. “There isn’t anybody who isn’t immune to the problems of drugs and alcohol.  We need to work together, as a partnership, to keep us all on the right road.”

Jacobsen added that “like every family,” his had issues with alcohol and drugs.  “If you’re ever uncomfortable about speaking up (about alcohol and drug abuse), just think about the ramifications if you don’t speak up – in their lives and in your life as well.”

Jacobsen is recuperating from a shoulder injury before heading back onto the Champions Golf Tour.  While currently living in Bonita Springs, Florida, Jacobsen still considers Oregon home and comes back often for business and pleasure.

During his visit to the 5th grade classroom at Stephenson, Jacobsen spoke about goals, asking students about what they wanted to do when they grew up.  Jacobsen added that combating peer pressure is a lifelong skill:  Choosing between right and wrong follows them their whole life.

“We all want to do things in our lives that are impactful,” said Jacobson. “In our own way, just helping somebody else within our lives – within our circle – is the most important thing.

Jacobsen is recognized as one of golf’s greatest ambassadors. He won seven times on the PGA TOUR and two major championships on the Champions Tour. He joined an exclusive club with Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as the only players to win two majors to start their over 50 career. Among his many accomplishments, Jacobsen has hosted his own shows on the GOLF Channel, Peter Jacobsen Plugged In and Peter and Friends.


Icing by Claire’s Stores Selling Flasks to Teen Girls

January 9, 2009

Oregon Partnership sent the following letter to Eugene S. Kahn, CEO,
Claire’s Stores, Inc.

Dear Sir:
As a non-profit organization dedicated to combating drug abuse and underage drinking, Oregon Partnership was disappointed to find that Icing by Claire’s stores are selling alcohol flasks.

With Icing By Claire’s young customer base (17-27 years old according to your website), the sale of such items is not worthy of your company’s record in the area of social responsibility.

When I visited your Washington Square store in Portland, I was shocked to see dozens of the flasks in different colors and designs and prominently displayed at the counter.

And the question we have is…why?

Underage drinking is a growing problem in our country. Massive amounts of advertising and promotion by beer companies and other alcohol manufacturers make it that much harder to reverse the trend and change the culture of underage drinking.

Recent research in Oregon shows that more teenage girls are outdrinking boys, resulting in a myriad of other problems including sexual assault, unplanned pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

But Oregon Partnership and other anti-drug coalitions are making real inroads in informing parents, educators, and the business community about how alcohol use among adolescents is even more dangerous to their developing brains than previously believed. And yes, we know that the culture can be changed. But we need your help.

You might be interested to know that Macy’s and Bloomingdales decided to take beer t-shirts off their shelves a couple of years ago, which received substantial positive attention in the media. Other national chains have discontinued the sale of drinking games and other similar products.

I know you have received similar complaints, and we urge you to discontinue the sale of these products.

Thank you for your consideration, and we hope you can join us in combating underage drinking and the sale of products that encourage it.

Sincerely,

Pete Schulberg
Communications Director
Oregon Partnership


Gap’s Response to Oregon Partnership Re T-Shirts Falls Short

January 5, 2009

After complaining to the top executives at Gap, Inc and its Old Navy stores about the sale of holiday t-shirts promoting binge drinking, Oregon Partnership received a letter from a Gap representative saying – well, not much.

In the letter, Gap’s Rose Brenner (no title given but states she is “responsible for a large portion of executive correspondence”), the company’s merchandising team will keep OP’s feedback in mind “when designing, developing and marketing future collections to improve the shopping experience for all customers.”

We certainly hope so. And we hope it results in keeping these shirts off the shelves for good.

OP will reply to the letter, and continue to marshal support for its position.

Offering these shirts to a teen customer base is irresponsible to say the least. Showing a Christmas tree and the words “Let’s Get Lit” and other t-shirts showing elves drinking right from a keg send a harmful message to young customers.

If other major retailers can realize that these products don’t belong on their store shelves, so can Gap.