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Carmona, Governors' Spouses Collaborate To Prevent Underage Drinking

Preventing underage drinking is a national priority, one that Surgeon General Richard Carmona will include as part of his message concerning healthy choices for America's children. He discussed this priority recently with NIAAA director Dr. T.K. Li and the Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, a coalition of governors' spouses, federal agencies, and public and private organizations. The group's co-chairs, Columba Bush (Fla.), Lori Hauser Holden (Mo.), Mary Easley (N.C.), and Hope Taft (Ohio), and emeritus members Sharon Kitzhaber (Ore.) and Theresa Racicot (Mont.) took part in the meeting, along with Charles Curie, administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Dr. Howard Zucker, deputy assistant secretary for health.

Carmona invited the Leadership Initiative to join his "50 Schools in 50 States" campaign launched this spring to talk directly with students about the importance of making healthy choices. Other collaborations will include public service announcements and the release of a surgeon general's report on underage drinking. Racicot, past first lady of Montana and emeritus group co-chair, will serve as a liaison between the leadership initiative and the surgeon general's office.

Tommy Thompson and Elias Zerhouni also greeted the governors' spouses at the meeting. Thompson emphasized his support for the leadership initiative and the important contribution of the governors' spouses in working to prevent underage drinking.

At the recent meeting on underage drinking were (from l) SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie, First Lady Lori Hauser Holden of Missouri, First Lady Columba Bush of Florida, Past First Lady Theresa Racicot of Montana, Past First Lady Sharon Kitzhaber of Oregon, HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, Surgeon General Richard Carmona, First Lady Mary Easley of North Carolina, NIH director Dr. Elias Zerhouni, First Lady Hope Taft of Ohio, NIAAA deputy director Dr. Mary Dufour and NIAAA director Dr. T.K. Li.

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