Cellucci Starts Anti-Drinking Crusade

Massachusetts Gov. A. Paul Cellucci (R) will launch an educational radio advertising campaign aimed at stopping teenage drinking later this month.

The advertisements, to run beginning Oct. 20, will "encourage parents to talk to their children about the dangers of underage drinking," according to a news release from the Governor's office.

"The two tragic events we have lived through this past week have made us aware that underage drinking is a life and death issue," Cellucci said in the release, referring to the drinking-related death of MIT first-year Scott Krueger and the alcohol poisoning of two high school students.

"This radio ad challenges parents to talk to their children about alcohol before tragedy strikes," Cellucci added.

Rich Copp, deputy director of communications for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, said that the advertisements are not a direct reaction to the MIT incident.

"The whole [campaign] was in the works before the death at MIT," Copp said.

According to Copp, the Governor hopes to prevent future tragedies with the public awareness campaign.

The ads are sponsored by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and will air throughout the state. They will specifically target parents with children between the ages of 10 and 17.

The campaign will feature a car full of teens who are pulled over by the police. When the police officer discovers alcohol in the car, the radio announcer will ask "Who do you want to be the first person to talk to your kids about alcohol," said the press release.

A toll-free number for parents to call and receive information about youth alcohol abuse and about how to speak to their children about alcohol will be provided by the ad.

The Governor has always maintained a tough stance on underage drinking, said Jim Connolly, the Governor's campaign chair.

"[Cellucci has] proposed banning drinking on college campuses to crack down on minors drinking," according to Connolly. The governor advocates zero-tolerance with regard to underage drinking offenses, Connolly added.

Harvard students had mixed reactions about the impact the new ad campaign would have on underage drinking.

"Given the results of the Just Say No to Drugs campaign, I doubt the effectiveness of this educational effort," Ariana J. Rickard '01 said.

Other students said the Governor's adcampaign would prove effective.

"I think that is pretty good. I think that will work," Aaron S. Montgomery '00 said. "It sure scared the hell out of me."

In addition to the advertising campaign, the Department of Public Health's Bureau of Substance Abuse Services will also hold a statewide forum in April.

According to the press release, the forum will address the issue of college drinking. Participants in the forum will include college and university presidents, administrators, deans, health service professionals, and students.