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(Fri., Sept. 2, 2011)—Mayor Peter Carlisle announced that the City's "Be A Jerk" campaign to prevent underage drinking has been selected to receive the 2011 National Exemplary Award for Innovative Substance Abuse Prevention Programs, Practices, and Policies.

            Since its inception more than two decades ago, the National Exemplary Awards program has honored outstanding achievements in substance abuse prevention throughout the United States. These awards focus national attention on the field of substance abuse prevention, highlight innovation in the field, and showcase evidence-based, state-of-the-art programs that may be replicated by others. The awards are presented by the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors and its subsidiary, the National Prevention Network. 

            As a National Exemplary Award recipient, the City will receive an unrestricted mini-grant of $1,650. Additionally, the National Prevention Network will cover travel costs for Be A Jerk staff members to attend the 2011 National Prevention Network Research Conference in Atlanta in September 2011. While at the conference, they will accept the award on behalf of the City.

            The City's "Be a Jerk" campaign, designed to be a grass-roots effort, unites individuals, organizations, and businesses to build a safer Honolulu through policies, best practices, and attitudes that support young people in remaining alcohol-free. It encourages adults to Be A Jerk by refusing to give or sell alcohol to minors, buy alcohol for minors, or allow minors to drink alcohol in theirs homes, or anywhere.

            "No one wants to be a jerk, but sometimes a problem calls for it, and that's definitely true of underage drinking," said Carlisle. "We need people to stand up and say, 'If it takes a jerk to help keep kids away from alcohol, then I'm proud to be a jerk.' I applaud those who help save lives by choosing to Be A Jerk."

            Underage drinking kills more kids than all other drugs (including tobacco) combined, and is a factor in a host of serious problems, including homicide, suicide, traumatic injury, drowning, burns, violent and property crime, high risk sex, fetal alcohol syndrome, alcohol poisoning, and need for treatment for alcohol abuse and dependence. Underage drinking cost the citizens of Hawaii $188 million in 2007, according to the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.

            The award-winning "Be A Jerk" campaign is made possible by funding through the Hawaii Department of Health, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. The campaign is administered by the Department of Community Services. For more information, visit 


Media contact: Wiwik Bunjamin-Mau, Department of Community Services, 768-5793