Per Montgomery County: Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) is launching an ad campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of under-21 alcohol access and consumption. Starting this month, ABS will place public service advertisements on bus shelters and bus taillights to deter under-21 alcohol use and reduce adolescent access to alcohol.
The bus shelter ads will be placed near high schools and feature the phrase “under 21 drinking can lead to alcohol addiction.” The Ride On bus taillight ads will be placed on upper county routes and feature the phrase “60% of kids who drink get their alcohol from family and friends.” Ads will run for six weeks and include a QR code that can be scanned for more information on reducing under-21 alcohol use and access to alcohol as well as other prevention resources.
“As a community we recognize that we have a responsibility to deter and reduce underage alcohol use,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “Our actions as parents and caregivers can influence our children’s decision to experiment with alcohol. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, children are more likely to avoid substance use when they have a strong, trusting relationship with their parents or caregivers. So, I’m glad that ABS is taking this step to remind us to speak to our children early and often about the dangers of underage alcohol consumption.”
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states that under-21 drinking is associated with various negative consequences including the risk of developing future alcohol dependence. Under-21 drinking can also be influenced by the drinking behaviors of adult relatives, adults in the same household, and adults in the same community.
“Alcohol is the most commonly misused substance among young people in the United States,” said ABS Director Kathie Durbin. “Under-21 alcohol use contributes to risky behavior, lower academic achievement, altered brain development and the likelihood of future substance abuse, Parents, teachers and community members play a key role in deterring under-21 alcohol use and access.”
ABS developed the advertising campaign with a funding award from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association. The ads are a part of the “Keeping It Safe” (KIS) public education campaign geared toward the hospitality industry and the community with educational material. KIS provides information on how to keep communities safe by raising awareness of the dangers of under-21 alcohol consumption as well as information on responsible alcohol service.
ABS is the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine and spirits for Montgomery County and operates 27 retail stores throughout the County. In addition, ABS manages alcohol licensing, enforcement and education for more than 1,000 businesses. Generating more than $35 million in net income annually, its profits are used to pay down County debt with a large portion deposited in the general fund to pay for resident services that would otherwise be funded by County tax dollars.
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office released the following press release on Thursday, December 7: