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MILWAUKEE - Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen helped launch "We Don't Serve Teens Week" this morning held at 10:00 a.m. at the Pick N Save on West Holt Avenue in Milwaukee. The "We Don't Serve Teens" campaign involves a coalition of public and private sector organizations brought together by the Federal Trade Commission. The campaign is designed to help inform adults about the illegality of providing alcohol to underage drinkers and the risks that accompany underage drinking.
"Underage drinking can have tragic consequences," Van Hollen said. "Study after study suggests that youth who illegally drink alcohol obtain it from individuals they know. Illegally providing alcohol to minors sends the message to youth that there are laws to obey and laws that can be ignored. That's the wrong message. Kids cite their parents as the leading influence over their decision to drink - or not to drink - alcohol. It is my hope this campaign will encourage parents to talk with their teen about the dangers of underage drinking and discourage adults from providing alcohol to those under 21."
"I am especially pleased to participate in today's events and to tape public service announcements with Miller Brewing, The Century Council, and Anheuser-Busch about the dangers of underage drinking - and the illegality and irresponsibility of providing youth with alcohol," the Attorney General continued. "As Attorney General, I know all too well that after-the-fact enforcement of the law often comes only after the terrible consequences that can follow serving teens alcohol. Hopefully this campaign will cause adults to reconsider providing alcohol to teens."
In January, Van Hollen's office obtained a favorable decision from the Wisconsin Court of Appeals that affirmed the conviction of Ronald L. Wille, Jr., for causing death by providing alcohol beverages to a minor. In that case, a young man who was supplied alcohol at a party by the defendant was involved in a fatal one-car accident. Van Hollen's office represented the state in the defendant's appeal of the conviction obtained by the Portage County District Attorney's office.
Van Hollen was joined at today's event by Eric Petersen, Wisconsin Wine and Spirits Institute; Tim McHugh, Badger Liquor; Vivian King, Roundy's Supermarkets; Captain Eduardo Negron, Milwaukee Police Department; and Erik Strickland of The Century Council. The Century Council is a national not-for-profit organization funded by Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Future Brands LLC; Hood River Distillers, Inc; and Sidney Frank Importing Co. Inc.
In addition to The Century Council, partners in the Federal Trade Commission's "We Don't Serve Teens" campaign include the Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc., the U.S. Department of Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association, Students Against Destructive Decisions, the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association, the Responsible Retailing Forum, the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc., the National Consumers League, and the American Beverage Licensees.
Elements of the campaign include television public service announcements, print ads, lapel pins, cold case stickers, register signs, and posters. For more information on the campaign or to order materials visit www.dontserveteens.gov. Public service announcements taped by Van Hollen will appear on the Wisconsin Department of Justice website, at http://www.doj.state.wi.us/.