MADD's goal is to protect our country's youth from the dangers of underage drinking. Today, one in three 8th graders drinks alcohol, and teen alcohol use kills about 5,000 people each year, more than all illegal drugs combined.
MADD has already seen success in this area. MADD has saved over 27,000 young lives through the 21 minimum drinking age law. In 2012 (the last year for which we have data), 24.3 percent of 12 to 20 year olds had a drink in the previous month, down by about 11 percent from 2009 (as measured by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). Understanding that parents are the number one influence on kids' decisions about alcohol, MADD created The Power of Parents, offering research-proven strategies to help parents keep their children safe from the dangers of underage drinking. This program, in combination with other efforts, will help reduce the number of underage drinkers.
Our goal was to decrease the number of underage drinkers by five percent from 2009 to 2013. Fortunately, we’ve almost entirely achieved that goal. From 2009 to 2012, annual use of alcohol by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders fell by 22%, 8%, and 4% respectively.
MADD also works to create a positive environment for the growth and development of our children by developing and implementing tactics that discourage adults from providing alcohol to underage drinkers. And, MADD continues to support the 21 drinking age, a law that has saved thousands of young lives.
One of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors serving one person every 8 minutes at no charge. So long as drunk driving impacts our families and friends, MADD's goal is to increase the number of victims and survivors served, and to continually improve the quality of those services.
We measure success by the number of victims and survivors that take advantage of our services, whether connected with a victim advocate at the local level or receiving emotional support and guidance through our national support line. In 2012, MADD served more than 61,000 victims and survivors of drunk and drugged driving crashes. This is more than double the number of victims and survivors we served just eight years ago. To increase that number even further, we plan to reach out to diverse and underserved populations with the goal of serving 64,000 in 2013. 2013 data will be available next year.
To achieve these goals, we will continue to spread the word about the availability of our no-cost services, continue to train new volunteers to work with victims and survivors, and continue to increase our capacity to help others through the generous support of the community.