Sharing Control: ABC Reaches Out to Community

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On September 7, 2016, representatives from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Department (ABC) solicited requests and suggestions for better alcohol control strategies from public health and community safety advocates—a first-of-its-kind collaboration.

"We don't know of another case in which ABC leaders have reached out to community representatives," said Thania Balcorta, co-chair of the California Alcohol Policy Alliance (CAPA). She was joined by participants representing organizations in the Central Valley, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, and San Francisco regions. Newly appointed ABC Chief Deputy Director Helena Williams and three other prominent members of the department met with the group.

The public health and safety representatives voiced concerns that industry interests were drowning out the needs of communities impacted by alcohol sales. Recent trends underline this issue, with ABC struggling to recruit and retain agents even as total alcohol licenses steadily rise. Participants also requested improvements in enforcement of existing regulations, better vendor training, and better transparency and public access to ABC data.

Lastly, the group requested that ABC continue its commitment to engaging public health and safety groups in the conversation surrounding alcohol policy in the state. "We believe this meeting is the first step in a new and positive working relationship," said attendee Eric Collins, chair of the San Diego Alcohol Policy Panel.

Read the full press release.

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Youth for Justice Academy Completes Fourth Year of Leadership Training

August 24, 2016

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The fourth annual Youth for Justice Academy recently completed its two-week summer leadership training at the Alcohol Justice headquarters in San Rafael’s Canal Neighborhood.

Between 20 to 25 youths, ages of 11 to 18, participated in activities that focused on building leadership skills, nutrition training, exercise, drug and alcohol prevention, and direct action to improve their community.

The Academy summer program operates under the auspices of Alcohol Justice with the collaboration and partnership this year of the San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition, the Marin County Probation Department, the National Park Service, Marin County Parks, and Trips for Kids.

Program highlights included field trips with Trips for Kids Marin to the Presidio, Fort Baker, Stinson Beach, and McNear’s beach, one of Marin County’s parks. The students also worked in the 129 Canal Garden, planting and harvesting fresh vegetables that they cooked and drank down as smoothies.

Guest speakers Ashel Eldridge, an Oakland-based rapper, environmental activist, and founder of Earth Activated, and Ernesto Hernandez, a Mayan Elder who teaches indigenous Meso-American art. Their talks at the Youth Academy centered on ancestral wisdom and native culture designed to nourish creativity and empowerment.

“It is a joy to see a beautiful group of young people come together,” says Maite Durán, Community Organizer for Youth for Justice. “Their energy is amazing. I find it personally inspiring to see them develop these skills and understanding in just two weeks. My hope, going forward, is that they will continue to make a contribution at home, their schools, or in their communities.”

Participants in the two-week summer program are encouraged to join the Youth for Justice year-long program that meets on Friday afternoons. For more information about Youth for Justice or the San Rafael Alcohol and Drug Coalition, contact Jorge Castillo at (415) 257-2488 or Maite Durán at (415) 257-2499.

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New EU study finds definitive link between alcohol ads & adolescent drinking

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August 22, 2016

A new report
by the Society for the Study of Addiction supports a link between alcohol adverstising and adolescent drinking. The European study, published in August by the scientific journal Addiction finds that exposure to several different types of alcohol marketing is linked with the amount and frequency of drinking among adolescents across Europe.

The study included more than 9,000 adolescents in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Poland where the average age of those questioned was 14 years. The students reported their drinking frequency and binge drinking as well as their exposure to a wide range of alcohol marketing, including television ads; online marketing; sponsorship of sports, music events, or festivals; ownership of alcohol branded promotional items; receipt of free samples; and exposure to price offers.

The data showed exposure to alcohol marketing of all kinds was positively associated with adolescents’ alcohol use over time. These findings support new regulations by the EU's regulatory agency, the Audio Media Visual Services Directive (AMVSD).

The report's lead author, Avalon de Bruijn, of the European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing (EUCAM), says “Europe is the world’s heaviest drinking region, and youth drinking is particularly problematic. Our study highlights the need to restrict the volume of alcohol marketing to which young people are exposed in everyday life. It’s no longer just a matter of restricting television ads; policymakers need to examine the alcohol industry’s total marketing scheme and develop regulations that will reduce all types of alcohol marketing.”

Read the full report.

Obama Pushes TPP Onto New Congressional Fast Track

August 22, 2016

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President Obama submitted notice to Congress.

Now's the time to weigh in to STOP the TPP!

Last Friday, the Obama administration issued formal notice to Congress of intent to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), by submitting a draft statement of administrative action [SAA].

The SAA lays out how the President would implement the TPP if Congress approves the 12-nation trade agreement. This notice kicks off a process of Congressional hearings and negotiations with the White House.

After 30 days has passed, the White House can submit a final SAA along with a bill to approve the agreement, which Congress will give expedited consideration and an up or down vote.

Here's a timeline to catch you up, as well as a brief overview. Learn more from the Congressional Research Service.

Tell your Members of Congress TO STOP THE TPP!