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South Dakota Attorney General, Anheuser-Busch Team Up to Promote Back-to-School Safety

South Dakota Attorney General, Anheuser-Busch Team Up to Promote Back-to-School Safety in Statewide Letter to Parents Initiative provides guidance on underage-drinking prevention

PIERRE, S.D.—South Dakota Attorney General Larry Long and Anheuser-Busch are teaming up in an effort to encourage safety and responsibility this back-to-school season. In a letter sent statewide, Attorney General Long urges parents to be good role models by talking with their children about underage drinking and encouraging them to make responsible decisions during the upcoming school year. The letter was sent on August 15 to the parents in more than 30,000 households in South Dakota who have children between the ages of 8 and 17. The effort was announced today during a news conference at the Sioux Falls School District Instructional Planning Center in Sioux Falls.

"As the summer season draws to a close, we want to help parents prepare their children for the coming school year," stated Long. "Anheuser-Busch is a leader in fighting underage drinking, and we are pleased to work with them on communicating this important and timely message. Talking with our children about underage drinking not only helps keep our children safe, but also sends our children the right message by showing responsible role modeling." 

In addition, Long’s letter underscores the fact that most South Dakota youth are making responsible, safe decisions and are not drinking. The most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 77 percent of South Dakota adolescents (ages 12-17) do not drink. According to a national survey of youth between the ages of 8 and 17, kids identify their parents as the No. 1 influence on their decision to drink or refrain from drinking when they’re underage. 

Recognizing that parents have the power to play a pivotal role in preventing underage drinking, the letter includes materials about the Family Talk About Drinking program that helps parents talk with their children about this issue. Parents are receiving a brochure about the program, as well as a refrigerator bookmark. The mailing also includes a toll-free number (1-800-359-TALK) and postage-paid reply card to order a parent guide and video. Parents may also visit www.familytalkonline.com to download the parent guide. Anheuser-Busch assumed all of the development and mailing costs associated with the project. 

"We are proud to join with Attorney General Long on this issue of vital importance to families," said John Kaestner, vice president of Consumer Affairs for Anheuser-Busch. "Talking with our children about underage drinking can be difficult, and we applaud the Attorney General’s leadership in helping parents prepare their children to make smart, safe choices when they are confronted with underage-drinking decisions." The Family Talk program was developed by authorities in the areas of education, family counseling and alcohol treatment. The program, available in five languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean), encourages open, honest communication between children and parents on the issue of underage drinking. Created in 1990 by Anheuser-Busch, more than 6 million copies of free Family Talk have been distributed to parents and community groups nationwide, and thousands of copies have been downloaded from the Internet. 

For nearly a quarter century, Anheuser-Busch and its nationwide network of 600 independent wholesalers have promoted responsibility and respect for the law, investing more than a half-billion dollars in alcohol awareness and education programs and partnerships. In 2006, for the third year in a row, the company ranked first in the beverage industry for social responsibility in FORTUNE magazine’s "America’s Most Admired Companies" and "Global Most Admired Companies" lists. More information about Anheuser-Busch’s responsible drinking programs is available at www.beeresponsible.com

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