DECATUR – Later today, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon will kick off a week of educational activities in central Illinois that will highlight the Illinois Liquor Control Commission’s new parental responsibility program. The program, launched in time for New Year’s Eve, provides Illinois parents with the tools they need to reduce the incidence of underage and binge drinking. Over fifty organizations and elected officials from across the state have signed on to this effort.
“As the mother of two daughters, I understand the importance of talking openly and honestly about the dangers of underage drinking,” Lt. Governor Simon is expected to say to the audience at the opening event in Decatur. “I urge all parents to start these conversations with their children at an early age.”
Illinois parents and guardians need to take an active role in communicating with their children about the dangers of this type of behavior early and often in their upbringing. Underage drinkers most often obtain alcohol from their home, or from someone they know who purchased it for them, such as a family friend, parent or guardian or another relative old enough to purchase liquor, according to a recent federal study. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration found that 69.4% of underage drinkers (an estimated 7.3 million young people) did not purchase the last alcohol they consumed – it was provided to them by someone was legally able to purchase alcohol.
“A cultural shift to reduce the tragic results of underage drinking has to start at home,” said Gloria Materre, Executive Director, Illinois Liquor Control Commission. “Parents and friends must be willing to talk to their children and let them know that underage drinking is unacceptable.”
Schools, law enforcement agencies and the liquor industry have been fighting to reduce the sale of beer, wine and spirits to underage customers. These efforts have paid off with higher compliance rates by businesses licensed to sell alcohol and through more enforcement activities associated with special events and underage drinkers.
“The Illinois Secretary of State Police has forged a strong partnership with the liquor industry, other state agencies, and local government in our combined efforts to eliminate the use of counterfeit identification in our state,” Brad Demuzio, Illinois Secretary of State Police Director will tell this evening’s audience in Decatur. “The message we are sending today is clear: If you intend to create or use a fake ID, we are watching closely and will ultimately catch you.”