Coalitions Against Underage Drinking
by David J. Hanson, Ph.D.
Here is a list of what appear to be grassroots organizations dedicated to reducing or preventing underage alcohol use:
- Pennsylvanians Against Underage Drinking
- Texans Standing Tall - A Statewide Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking
- Louisiana Alliance to Prevent Underage Drinking
- Oregon Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking
- Missouri’s Youth/Adult Alliance Against Underage Drinking
- National Capital Coalition to Prevent Underage Drinking
- Minnesota Join Together Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking
- Georgia Alcohol Policy Partnership
- Puerto Rico Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking
- Indiana Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking
- Partners to Reduce Underage Drinking in North Carolina
- Connecticut Coalition to Stop Underage Drinking
In reality, all of these groups are part of the anti-alcohol Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s nation-wide program to influence alcohol policy at both the state and federal levels.
To achieve its goal, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has devoted years to developing and funding a large network of temperance-oriented organizations, institutes, centers, and individuals. In a recent period of about four years, the Foundation invested well over one-quarter billion dollars (about $265,000,000.00) in this project.
These state organizations (many would call them “front groups”) are useful in opposing alcohol at the state and local level. For example, the Georgia Alcohol Policy Partnership appeared on the scene as soon as Six Flags Over Georgia sought permission for restricted beer sale only at certain times in its theatre and nowhere else within the entire park Its proposal resulted from consumer demand and an attempt to stay competitive with other theme parks. Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens and Universal Studies have all served beer for years throughout their parks without problems
In spite of this, the Georgia Alcohol Policy Partnership opposed even such limited sales of alcohol, claiming that it would lead to underage drinking and various safety hazards. 1 This position appears to be motivated by a temperance agenda rather than an objective assessment of the facts. Of course, it does promote the goals of the funder, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Other major parts of the Foundation’s temperance-oriented network include the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (sometimes called the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University), the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, the Alcohol Policies project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, the Marin Institute, the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Join Together Online, Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, 2 ImpacTeen, Fighting Back, A Matter of Degree, the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, 3 and Henry Wechsler’s College Alcohol Study project (often called the Harvard College Study).