Press Conference Unveils New City Sanitation Trucks with a Message about Underage Drinking

May 18, 2008

Salt Lake City – Remarks from the press conference:

“We are proud and excited about our 6 new sanitation trucks and their new message on underage drinking!  This is the 2nd set of trucks wrapped with a message to parents – The trucks serve as moving billboards stopping weekly at Salt Lake City homes and businesses.

Salt Lake City and Salt Lake County were the first in the nation to carry such messages on their sanitation trucks and have received national attention for visiting over 16 million homes and traveling close to 3 ½ million miles in the first year.

Mayor Becker and the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Coalition on Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs are committed to continuing to raise parental and community awareness of the harms of underage drinking and to providing proven skills to prevent underage drinking. We believe that a consistent community message about keeping kids alcohol free until the legal age of 21 is critical.

This is the second series of our sanitation trucks to be wrapped. This on-going campaign is funded by Parents – a state wide effort to help parents become knowledgeable of the damage underage drinking can do to the teen brain and how to prevent underage drinking.

Alcohol affects the adolescent brain differently from an adult brain because teens are undergoing rapid brain development and are more easily and rapidly addicted.  A teen who begins drinking before the age of 15 has a 40% chance of becoming alcohol dependent. Alcohol is NOT a teen rite of passage; it kills 6 times as many kids as all other illegal drugs combined.  By 6th grade, 26% of Salt Lake City kids have experimented with alcohol. By 10thgrade, over ½ of our kids here have tried alcohol. Alcohol can damage the impulse control center of the brain, the thinking and judgment part of the brain and impair memory!

Parents – your disapproval of underage drinking is the number one reason kids don’t drink. Parenting tops peer pressure! Kids still listen to parents more than to anybody else – so clearly tell them you do not approve of underage alcohol use – it is illegal and dangerous.  Please lock up any liquor you have at home. Kids who drink say they most often obtain the alcohol from home or from an adult family member. It is illegal to provide alcohol to someone under the age of 21.

As a community we need to work together to prevent underage drinking so our kids have the best chance to flourish.”