Urge "Drug Czar" Walters to End Relationship With Beer Promoter!

We need your help! You might be surprised to learn that the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), the "Drug Czar," has hooked up with beer promoters to bring "anti-drug" messages to young people. In partnering with NASCAR and driver Jimmy Spencer, that's just what they've done. And that sends the wrong message to young people in America. Help us to send the right message to ONDCP that this partnership is wrong headed and not acceptable.

ONDCP's collaboration with NASCAR abandons years of recognition that alcohol (and tobacco) are serious drug threats for young people. ONDCP's 1999 Drug Control Strategy recognized that alcohol "is by far the drug of choice among American youth." Beer, in particular, is the favorite alcoholic beverage of young people in this country. Teens purchase approximately 10 percent of all the beer sold.

NASCAR has a $7.5 million sponsorship deal with Busch Beer and other drivers have their own lucrative sponsorship deals (Rusty Wallace with Miller Brewing Co. and Sterling Martin with Coors). Jimmy Spencer's car, featured in a photo on ONDCP's "Campaign Update", sports a Budweiser decal. His web site features pictures of Jimmy, wearing a Budweiser cap, standing beside cases of Busch Beer. It also includes an online store where beer-can "coolies" and shot glasses are for sale. This mixed message can't fail to confuse kids! Promoting the Campaign's anti-drug message alongside promotions for beer tells kids that illegal drugs are bad, but beer is OK. Sadly, this implication conforms with recent changes in ONDCP's principal goal. Until last year, that goal included "educating America's youth to reject illegal drugs as well as alcohol and tobacco." ONDCP's 2002 strategy drops the mention of alcohol and tobacco.

On August 5, 2002 CSPI wrote to John Walters expressing our concerns about the partnership with NASCAR and urged him to reconsider that relationship. We have not yet received a reply.

Take action now! Please let John Walters know how you feel about beer promoters urging our kids to be drug-free. Ask Mr. Walters to do the following:

Please copy CSPI on your letter and send it to us for our records either by Email, alcproject@cspinet.org, or fax 202-265-4954.

For further information on this action alert, please contact Bill England, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for CSPI Alcohol Policies Project at (202) 332-9110, x348.

[CSPI Letter to ONDCP] [Sample Letter to ONDCP] [ONDCP Campaign Update with Jimmy Spencer]

August 23, 2002