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North Carolina battles underage drinking

For several years, local TV viewers may have noticed a series of public service announcements aimed at youths. The goal of the ads was to reduce underage drinking by making teenagers aware of the potential dangers. Some described the commercials as morbid, using fear to alarm teens and jar them into avoiding alcohol until they turned 21. However, the director for the North Carolina Alcohol Board Control Commission's Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking recently unveiled new commercials aimed at a different audience.

Two new ads put the attention on parents after focus groups revealed that youths are more likely to drink when their parents did not emphasize its dangers. In fact, 84 percent of middle school students surveyed believed better communication with their parents would affect their views about alcohol. The problem is that parents may not be sure how to approach the delicate topic with their children, so the commercials encourage parents to make the topic of underage drinking part of normal conversations.

Both ads show parents preparing to address the topic with their children as if the talk were a big production. One mother is shown rehearsing for an opera, and another couple is frantically preparing data and charts as if for a board meeting. Having ongoing conversations with children about alcohol is important because the ABC Commission's studies show that many kids start drinking as young as 14.

When North Carolina parents begin conversations about underage drinking, they may focus on the dangers to a child's health. However, once those kids are old enough to drive or go off to college, new dangers arise, such as the possibility of encountering trouble with law enforcement. Parents whose children face charges of underage drinking may find themselves in need of frank and helpful conversation of their own, and a supportive attorney can provide that assistance.

Source:, "ABC Commission encourages conversations in new campaign phase", Brian Wudkwych, Sept. 28, 2017

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North Carolina battles underage drinking | Messer Law Firm