Gov. McCrory Lends His Presence and Support
By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
December 5, 2014
RALEIGH – The Christian Action League reported in October that the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (NCABC) was planning to launch a state-wide campaign to address the problems of underage drinking. That plan came to fruition on Wednesday when Governor Pat McCrory, Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, and Chairman of the NCABC, Jim Gardner, and other state leaders met at Daniels Middle School in Raleigh to give the new $2.5 million program its official kick-off.
The Governor told the media and hundreds of eighth graders who assembled in the school’s auditorium: ”I’m not accepting this concept of a rite of passage where everybody gets their time to get ripped, to get drunk. That rite of passage that my generation helped start – including me – is no longer acceptable.”
The theme for the campaign is “Talk it Out: Start the Conversation. Stop Underage Drinking.” The effort will feature television ads, a web site aimed at assisting parents in talking with their children about drinking (www.talkitoutnc.org), and Lt. Gov. Dan Forest will serve as its ambassador speaking to youth groups and schools across the state.
North Carolina’s ABC Commission has focused on reducing underage drinking as one of its key issues. Chairman Gardner has been meeting with leaders and media for several months to create, launch, and publicize the initiative.
Gardner told the Christian Action League, “The problem is very serious – literally life and death – and the solution cannot be a quick fix. I have been very pleased with the support that we have already received from industry, public health advocacy groups and from governmental leaders. This must be a joint effort and a long-term one to make the difference that we want to make. The costs of underage drinking are too great to ignore. The time to work together for meaningful change is now.”
The North Carolina ABC Commission notes that the pressure to drink begins as early as the middle-school years. Statistics reveal:
- Nearly two-thirds of middle school – and high school aged youth know people around their age who have tried alcohol.
- The average age that most youths try alcohol for the first time is before they even turn 14 – in fact, more kids try alcohol for the first time in middle school than try it first in high school
- Thirty-eight percent of eighth graders have had alcohol at least once.
- About 10 percent of 12 year olds say they have tried alcohol. By age 15, that number jumps to 50 percent.
With more than a hundred empty chairs sitting on a stage, symbolizing a year’s worth of deaths in the state related to underage drinking, Governor McCrory confessed to students he had been an underage drinker. “We would try to raid my parent’s liquor cabinet and go out to the woods with Boone’s Farm and think it was just a rite of passage.” But that kind of behavior needed to end, he said.
When officials during the assembly revealed one of the campaign’s commercials some of the youngsters seemed aghast when it showed a mother placing earrings and a corsage on a daughter in a coffin. They young girl had obviously died from a drinking related incident.
Another commercial revealed a father affectionately preparing baby food for his teenage son, who had apparently suffered a brain injury from an alcohol related accident.
Watch the commercials by going to this link: http://www.talkitoutnc.org/news/
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League said, “It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drink. And, it’s absolutely clear from the social science on this matter – something that has been studied now for more than 30 years – our Minimum Legal Drinking Age Laws save lives. Nevertheless, as long as there is alcohol young people will still get into mischief and extremely dangerous situation. Programs like the one being pushed by the state’s ABC Commission, however, can get parents, teachers and other authority figures talking on the matter and that will help to save more lives.”
Dr. Creech added he has told Chairman Gardner and all those at the NCABC that he strongly supports this new state initiative and promises to pray it will have phenomenal success in protecting our state’s greatest resource – its children.
For further reading, click on Dr. Creech’s article, Minimum Legal Drinking Age Makes Johnny a Little Safer