Governor Susana Martinez unveiled the state's new marketing campaign to reduce underage drinking in New Mexico. The MYINSTEAD campaign consists of commercials, billboards and an interactive website, designed for kids ages 13 through high school. Its aim is to educate them on the dangers of drinking at such a young age, like brain damage, traffic crashes, suicide, homicide and highrisk sex.
The website includes a video that focuses on peer pressure to drink and gives users three options for determining the outcome.
"This program is a big step forward in helping prevent kids from drinking. By providing them with an outlet that's both interactive and educational, this will go a long way in steering them away from alcohol and instead focusing on positive activities," said Governor Susana Martinez.
The campaign also provides youth with dozens of alternatives to drinking and gives them a chance to share their stories of their "Insteads" with their peers in written form or by producing their own videos and uploading them to the website. They'll also have a chance to win prizes.
The MYINSTEAD website includes a section for parents and teachers to teach them about underage drinking dangers and how to deter their kids from drinking.
"I encourage everyone to visit MY INSTEAD dot com and begin familiarizing yourself with the facts and prevention methods,'" Governor Martinez said. "Parents should encourage their children to visit the website, and they should have conversations with their teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse."
The public service campaign is provided by the New Mexico Department of Transportation. It is funded by proceeds from the ignition interlock program. You can visit the site at www.myinstead.com
Additional facts about underage drinking.
- Alcohol is the number one drug abused by youth in the U.S.
- New Mexico has the highest percentage of young people who have had their first drink before they turned 13
- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for youth aged 15 to 20 years. In the United States, 12.8% of all fatal traffic crashes were alcohol-related, and 40% of these involved teens driving while drinking alcohol.
- Underage drinking can cause alteration in the structure and function of the developing brain (which continues to mature into the mid to late twenties) and thus early drinking may have neurological consequences reaching far beyond adolescence