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The Century Council Statement On The U.S. Department Of Health And Human Services' Substance Abuse And Mental Health Services Administration "Talk. They Hear You" Program

ARLINGTON, Va., May 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --  The Century Council welcomes the US Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to our effort to engage the nation's families in the important, and potentially lifesaving conversation about underage drinking.

For more than twenty years, The Century Council has been at the forefront of the fight to reduce underage drinking and eliminate drunk driving.  Supported by America's leading distillers – Bacardi, Brown-Forman, Beam, Constellation, Diageo, Hood River Distillers and Pernod Ricard – The Century Council has attacked this mission through education and prevention programming, public awareness and research.

Central to The Council's contribution has been the undeniable fact that parents are the leading influence in kids' decisions to drink or not to drink.  With this evidence in hand, The Century Council's programs are designed to foster this crucial communication through helping parents have more and more effective conversations and empowering youth from middle school to college to make their own responsible decisions. 

National, state, and local partners have flocked to The Century Council's programs providing insights into their development and resources for their distribution.  The best example is Ask, Listen, Learn; Kids and Alcohol Don't Mix targeting middle school youth and their parents.  With the help of SAMHSA, the Association for Middle Level Education, the American School Counselor Association and individual researchers and practitioners, the key messages and themes were put into place. 

When the Ask, Listen, Learn program was independently evaluated, 92% of parents and 84% of kids said the Ask, Listen, Learn brochure helped facilitate a conversation about alcohol.  When the Ask, Listen, Learn edu-game was independently evaluated 84% of middle school students reported it made them stop and think about the dangers of underage drinking and 89% said it made them think about making healthy choices in their lives.

With the right content in place, Ask, Listen, Learn's national reach became a reality when the effort was joined by Nickelodeon, Scholastic, more than thirty of the nation's state Attorneys General, Olympic athletes like Apolo Ohno, Misty May Treanor, Dara Torres, Tyson Gay, Aly Raisman, and thousands of local Boys and Girls Clubs, Big Brothers and Big Sisters chapters, YMCAs, churches, synagogues and youth sports organizations around the nation. 

Through electronic media, print and online, Ask, Listen, Learn has reached millions of parents and kids likely making it the largest program of its kind in the nation.  But more important than reach is impact.  Is it working? The answer is absolutely!  Since 2003 62% more kids reported talking with their parents about underage drinking.  And according to Monitoring the Future, over the same period, past month consumption among DCH Auto Group Supports 2013 Global Youth Traffic Safety Month eighth grade students has decreased 44% proportionally, down from 20% in 2003 to 11% in 2012.

The Century Council looks forward to working with SAMHSA and others to bring a unified message to parents about the important role they play and pledges to use its national reach to bring "Talk. They Hear You" to parents across the nation.

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