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MADD wants anti-alcohol ads similar to anti-drug campaign.

Advocates hoping to curb underage drinking called last week for Congress to fund a media campaign comparable to one that tries to discourage teen-age drug use.

Millie Webb, national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said alcohol kills 6.5 times more young people than all other illicit drugs combined. She added beer and wine makers spend more than $1 billion a year advertising and marketing their alcoholic drinks.

"No matter how well our parents have discussed the rules, that's a lot of competition and they face an uphill battle," said Webb, a Franklin, Tenn., resident. "We've got to counteract those ads and educate young people that it's alcohol that's killing them."

A bill introduced Friday by Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., would authorize $1 million to develop a campaign strategy for the anti-alcohol ads.

"This is a nationwide problem and we need a national solution," Reid said.

Under the proposed legislation, the campaign would be administered through the Department of Health and Human Services, working with the surgeon general. The amount to be spent on the ads has not been determined.

A similar measure already is pending in the House, sponsored by Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., and Zach Wamp, R-Tenn.

The anti-drug ads are part of a five-year, $185 million campaign approved by Congress that claims to reach 90 percent of young people four to seven times a week. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy uses television, radio, the Internet, newspapers, magazines and bus and movie ads to target young people, parents, teachers, mentors, coaches and others.

As part of that legislation, the media are required to match every spot bought by the government with a corresponding free one.

Government officials, including for mer General Barry McCaffrey, the former drug policy director, long have said the anti-drug campaign needed to include alcohol, but money was never allocated.
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Title Annotation:Mothers Against Drunk Driving
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 21, 2001
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