SOURCE: Independent Insurance Agents of Texas

March 05, 2007 14:12 ET

Statewide Program Launched to Fight Teen Drinking

"Party 101: Consequences" Documentary and Workshops Roll Out Statewide to Educate Families and Communities

AUSTIN, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- March 5, 2007 -- The Texas PTA and the Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT) launched a statewide campaign designed to prevent underage drinking. The program features a documentary, "Party 101: Consequences" which premiered in Austin Feb. 28, at the Paramount Theatre.

The documentary is one part of a comprehensive campaign including a workshop series, curriculum guide and local presentations all aimed at helping families and communities throughout Texas prevent underage drinking. In addition to the main documentary, the DVD includes special breakout sessions, one designed for parents and the other designed for educators to explore the damaging effects and severe consequences of teen drinking.

The "Party 101: Consequences" development team involved teens in the creation, production and taping and allows viewers to learn directly from teens about what really goes on at teen parties and the real consequences of underage drinking. Some of the issues addressed include drinking and driving, missing out on teenage rituals such as prom and graduation, date rape, developmental effects, easy access to alcohol and the fact that many teens get alcohol at homes rather than from external outlets.

The documentary and breakout segments were produced by Christopher Productions, an Emmy-award winning film maker recognized for work on social issues, many of which are focused on challenges teens face. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison introduces the documentary, acknowledging the need to combat the epidemic of teenage drinking in Texas.

IIAT and Texas PTA members are prepared to lead free programs of "Party 101: Consequences" in communities across the state. Those who prefer to view the documentary at home with their families can request free DVDs; both the presentations and the free DVDs can be requested via the IIAT Web site at iiat.org and the Texas PTA Web-site, www.txpta.org or by calling 1-800-TALK-PTA.

Texas leads the nation in alcohol related deaths among young people. Statistics on underage drinking in Texas attached.

Independent Insurance Agents of Texas

The Independent Insurance Agents of Texas (IIAT) is the nation's largest state association of independent insurance agencies, the trusted choice for insurance in Texas. IIAT represents nearly 1,800 agencies and more than 15,000 agents and insurance professionals. Independent agents represent multiple insurance companies; they are not employees of any single insurance company. With an independent agent, consumers are able to comparison shop for cost effective and customized coverage. IIAT is affiliated with the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America. Online at http://iiat.org.

Texas Parent Teacher Association

Texas PTA was formed in 1909 and has grown to become the largest child advocacy group in the state. Historically, they have been on the forefront of such issues as school lunches, seat belt laws, polio vaccines and smoking cessation. Today they have over 600,000 members, forming one of the largest and most effective grass roots organizations in the state. Online at www.txpta.org.

Statistics on Underage Drinking in Texas

"Party 101: Consequences"

--  The Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse conducts a Texas School
    Survey every two years that examines alcohol and drug use among students.
    The following are highlights from the 2003 survey:
    
--  In 2002, alcohol was blamed in the deaths of 614 Texans under the age
    of 21, almost five times the number of youth deaths due to all other
    illicit drugs combined.
--  The average age for first use of beer is 12.4 years in Texas.
--  Alcohol is the most widely used substance among Texas students in
    grades 7-12 with 71% of students reporting they had used alcohol at some
    point in their lives and 35% in the last month.
--  More than 165,000 Texas teens (more than 9% of all students) say they
    have gone to school drunk.
--  25% of Texas high school seniors say they have driven a car while
    drunk. That represents 80,000 underage impaired drivers on Texas roads at
    least once during the past year.
--  Texas led the nation in alcohol-related deaths in 2002 with 1,745.
    That was 47% of the traffic fatalities in the state. The national average
    was 41%.  (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration 2003)
--  In 2002, there were 65 alcohol-related traffic fatalities 14 and under
    in Texas.  The number of alcohol-related deaths among those 15-20 was 261,
    which was 44% of all traffic deaths among the age group of 15-20. (National
    Highway Transportation Safety Administration 2003)
--  The latest statistics show a minor drop in total deaths in the
    percentage of alcohol related deaths among youth age 15-20. However, Texas
    still leads the nation in alcohol related deaths among young people.
--  In 1999, four states suffered more than 100 alcohol related motor
    vehicle deaths among those ages 15-20. In total and percentage, Texas was
    number one.
    
Texas              Total Deaths 574     Alcohol Related 260       45%
California         Total Deaths 497     Alcohol Related 176       36%
Florida            Total Deaths 366     Alcohol Related 114       31%
Pennsylvania       Total Deaths 261     Alcohol Related 101       40%
* National Highway Transportation Safety Administration 2001
--  Underage drinking costs the state of Texas over $5.5 billion a year.
    This number includes, but is not limited to such expenses as uninsured
    medical costs, property damage, loss of life, fetal alcohol syndrome as
    well as the cost of treatment for alcohol related medical problems.
    (Pacific Institute of Research & Evaluation, 2003)
--  Underage drinking accounts for $1.4 billion in sales for the alcohol
    industry.
--  The Public Services Research Institute estimates that another 10%
    decrease in alcohol-related crashes would save the state of Texas $220
    million in claims payments and loss adjustment expenses.
--  Almost 17% of all secondary students classified themselves as "binge
    drinkers," meaning they had five or more drinks at one sitting when they
    drank (for girls it is four or more drinks at one sitting).
--  The easier it is to obtain a substance, the higher the rate of use by
    students.  About 71% of the students believe that alcohol was very or
    somewhat easy to obtain compared to 66% for tobacco.
--  The TCADA survey shows that girls (71%) are now reporting a slightly
    higher rate of lifetime alcohol use than boys (70%).
--  The number of binge drinkers almost doubles between the 7th & the 8th
    grades.  In the 7th grade, 5.1% admit to binge drinking, while the number
    jumps to 9.3% in the 8th grade, and 16.3% in the 9th grade.
--  More Texas 7th & 8th graders believe it is more dangerous to smoke
    than to drink.  64.5% of 7th graders believe it is dangerous to smoke or
    use smokeless tobacco, while 57.4% believe in is dangerous to drink
    alcohol.  Among 8th graders, 54.5% believe tobacco is dangerous, while
    47.6% see the danger in drinking alcohol.
    

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