Five Things Parents Should Know About Underage Drinking

FTC Launches 2011 "We Don't Serve Teens" Education Campaign; Materials Are Available at

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As the new school year starts, the Federal Trade Commission is launching its 2011 “We Don’t Serve Teens” consumer education campaign, which warns of the hazards of underage drinking.  The FTC and a coalition of private and public groups are distributing education materials that support the legal drinking age of 21 and emphasize that what parents know about underage drinking can make a huge difference in their children’s future.

“Parents need to confront the risks of teen drinking head on,” said David Vladeck, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.  “Alcohol remains the most widely used substance of abuse among youth in the United States, and the more parents understand the pressures their children face, the better prepared they will be to help.”

The FTC wants parents to know that:

  • some kids start drinking early, and that when they drink they binge.
  • teens are most likely to get alcohol at parties and from their parents’ liquor cabinets.
  • there is no kind of “safe” alcohol for kids.
  • “taking away the keys” does not make it safe for kids to drink.
  • teens can grow up happy without underage drinking.

For more information see:  We Don’t Serve Teens.

The “We Don’t Serve Teens” campaign was developed by the FTC, the nation’s consumer protection agency.  Campaign materials are available free of charge in English and Spanish.  The FTC encourages radio stations to run public service announcements for the campaign, which are available on the “We Don’t Serve Teens” website, along with copy for print publications; camera-ready logos; banners, buttons, and posters; and transit ads.

For the next several weeks, the FTC and its campaign partners are running English-language ads on the sides of buses, on bus shelters, and at metro stations in Chicago, Los Angeles, San Antonio, and New York; they are running Spanish-language ads in Miami.

“We Don’t Serve Teens” partners are distributing two-sided campaign signs in communities nationwide.  The signs say, “The legal drinking age is 21. Thanks for not providing alcohol to teens.”  Organizations helping to distribute signs include manufacturers and distributors in the alcohol industry, state alcohol regulatory agencies, state and local law enforcement, high schools and colleges, and social services organizations.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them.  To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).  The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 2,000 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.  The FTC’s website provides free information on a variety of consumer topics.  Like the FTC on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

(WDST NR)   

Contact Information

Betsy Lordan
Office of Public Affairs

Janet Evans
Bureau of Consumer Protection