Magazine article ADWEEK

Anti-Alcohol Stew Heats Up after Report: Wolf to Query Drug Czar on How to 'Blend' Messages as Lobby Groups Simmer

Magazine article ADWEEK

Anti-Alcohol Stew Heats Up after Report: Wolf to Query Drug Czar on How to 'Blend' Messages as Lobby Groups Simmer

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON Following the release of a federal study on underage drinking, Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., said last week he will ask drug czar John Walters to include anti-alcohol messages that target parents in the national anti-drug media campaign.

"I do think it is important for the drug czar to participate," Wolf said. "I will send him a letter asking him how they can blend the two together."

The study, released last week by the National Academy of Sciences, calls for such an effort. "Parents tend to dramatically underestimate underage drinking generally and their own children's drinking in particular," the report said.

The beer and liquor industries oppose any inclusion of alcohol-related messages with the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy's anti-drug media campaign.

"Drug use is illegal, but alcohol can be and is consumed responsibly by millions of adults, so the messages need to be separate," said Lisa Hawkins, a rep with the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. "The key is not to just throw money at the problem, but to come up with effective solutions. We need to make sure whatever steps we take are science-based."

Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute, is not convinced there is a need for such ads. "I would be very concerned about what a campaign to parents would look like," he said. "I've seen no evidence that doing a national media campaign does any better than the community-based efforts we and a lot of other groups do. …

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