ParentsEmpowered.org is a media and education campaign funded by the Utah Legislature and designed to prevent and reduce underage drinking in Utah by providing parents and guardians with information about the harmful effects of alcohol on the developing teen brain, along with proven skills for preventing underage alcohol use.
The Utah Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is the lead agency for the campaign and is working in partnership with other state agencies and organizations, including the following: Attorney General's Office, Department of Health, Department of Public Safety/Highway Patrol and Highway Safety Office, Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, Juvenile Court, State Office of Education, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D.)/Utah Chapter, Utah Prevention Network, and Utah Substance Abuse and Anti-Violence Coordinating Council.
In September 2006, in response to the alarming new research compiled by the National Institutes of Health on how alcohol affects the developing teen brain, (causing early addiction and brain impairment), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services began an underage drinking initiative.
They asked each state to form an eight person Underage Drinking Prevention Team with a representative from each of the state agencies affected by the problems caused by underage drinking (ie. the Juvenile Courts, Substance Abuse, Schools, Department of Health, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, etc.).
The President of MADD-Utah (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) joined this team when they were summoned back to Washington for a round-table discussion. Teams from each of the 50 states met to discuss the problem of underage drinking and come up with solutions. Their first task was to hold Town Hall Meetings in schools and community centers across their states, talk about the problems of underage drinking, and try to come up with strategies to prevent it. To our credit, Utah held more Town Hall Meetings than any other state, and had more attendees.
The objective of ParentsEmpowered.org is to eliminate underage drinking in Utah, along with the devastating effects that alcohol has on children. We do this by motivating and enabling parents to take a more active role in keeping their children alcohol-free. Research shows parental disapproval of underage drinking is the #1 reason youth choose not to drink. (SAMSHA, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2005.)