Many parents acknowledge that teenagers are drinking, but most believe that the drinkers are other people’s children. However, the numbers prove that that hope is likely to be false. In Revere, Massachusetts, for example, surveys found that more than half of middle school students were drinkers. In response, community members invited EDC to help parents and others understand and reduce underage drinking.
The Power of KNOW campaign, developed by EDC’s Health and Human Development Programs (HHD) and funded by Partners Healthcare, debunks myths about underage drinking and enlists parents’ help to delay the age of first alcohol use, says HHD’s Diane Barry. The campaign encourages parents to ask their children who they’re with, what they’re doing, where they’re going, and when they will be home. Advertisements, town hall meetings, newspaper editorials, media, and community outreach initiatives all convey that message.
The program has “brought the community together to give our youth a consistent message about the dangers and consequences of underage drinking,” says Kitty Bowman, coordinator of Revere CARES, a community coalition. In its next phase, the program will expand to new audiences, including parents of high schoolers and parents of new immigrants and Latino students.
Originally published on May 1, 2007