In an effort to help curtail drug abuse and alcohol consumption among minors, the American Academy of Pediatrics is launching a campaign to change the way advertisements are allowed to be displayed and distributed.
“It’s clear that advertising is the most effective means of communicating a message,” begins a spokesperson for Mountainside Drug Rehab and Alcohol Treatment Center. “And, the American Academy of Pediatrics is fighting fire with fire, which is exactly what is needed. When advertisers elevate alcohol or other substances not appropriate for minors to a level of glamour, or they imply that there is no fun without the use of such substances, it entices minors to try those products. We know that alcohol abuse is the number one substance abused and is one of the greatest problems in America which results in addiction treatment. Studies have shown that the younger a child is when they experiment with alcohol, the more likely they are to continue that experimentation into illegal, more lethal and highly addictive drugs. Alcohol is recognized to be one of the number one gateways to greater substance abuse. Enacting stricter regulations for advertisers could go a long way in changing the face of alcohol experimentation and abuse among minors.”
It is estimated that advertising may contribute up to 30% in the use of alcohol and tobacco and is especially effective on minors. A recently published study showed that mascots commonly used in alcohol ads were nearly 75% as readily identifiable as Bugs Bunny among fourth graders.
Among the hot points within their campaign, the American Academy of Pediatrics seeks to limit advertisement for alcohol when the audience is made up of more than 10% children. In addition, they are also requesting that the White House Office on Drug Control Policy conduct anti-teen drinking public service campaigns. They are also urging parents to become more involved in what media their children are exposed to and limit unsupervised media use.