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30 Years of Responsibility: Why This Alcohol Responsibility Month Is Such a Big Deal

Across the country, more restaurants and bars are opening up as vaccinations roll out and restrictions are lifted. More Americans are getting back to their favorite places to toast big milestones, relax at happy hour or spend quality time with family. For some, it will be the first time they’ve been to these places in a full year.

So maybe it’s especially fitting this year that April is alcohol responsibility month. It’s a time to remember the habits that allow us to safely enjoy our favorite spirits and alcoholic beverages—and how we fight drunk driving and underage drinking.

And that’s the mission of—to eliminate underage drinking, to eliminate drunk driving and work with others to end all impaired driving, and to empower adults to make a lifetime of responsible alcohol choices.

This April, we have something else to celebrate at our 30th anniversary. Over the past three decades, has led a sea change in the country’s thinking about how best to address alcohol-related societal issues.

Here’s how far we’ve come in that time:

  • Drunk driving fatalities have declined 36% since 1991.
  • In 1991, 80% of American teens had consumed alcohol at least once in their lifetime. By 2020, that dropped to 44%.
  • Binge drinking among American youth has declined nearly 50% since 1991 and decreased 24% among college students.
  • Currently 87% of American adults self-report that they are confident they drink responsibly.

Americans take responsibility seriously. But clearly, there’s still progress to be made. There are also new challenges emerging—and not just ones related to the pandemic. Here are a few examples:

  • Addressing cannabis use in underage drinking lesson plans (because conversations about risky behaviors for youth do not happen in silos)
  • Reducing recidivism among impaired drivers and focusing efforts on fighting multi-substance impaired driving
  • Leveraging new technologies to reduce impaired driving

So what are we doing about it? We are using our 30th anniversary to launch some new programs that we’re really excited about:

  • Attorneys general from 33 states and territories are releasing public service announcements with us to encourage parents to talk with their kids to prevent underage drinking. (Thank you to all 33!)
  • We’re hosting a “Lunch & Learn” with New York Times best-selling author Jessica Lahey who will tell us about ways families can model responsible behavior. (And you’re invited to join!)
  • We’re expanding our proven Ask, Listen, Learn program to include a new interactive digital exploration module that encourages kids to examine facts over myths when making healthy decisions. (It’s a great tool.)
  • And we’re soft launching We Don’t Serve Teens in partnership with the Federal Trade Commission. (This will be a big help for bar owners!)

Stay connected with us at all this month to find out how you can get involved and to see what else we have in store.



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