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Media ignores health consequences of drinking and driving among young celebrities
Date:4/22/2009

elease from jail. Less than half of the stories focused on the legal aspects of the DUI event. Few articles included any consideration of any DUI-related policy or possible societal intervention, and discussions of the consequences of the DUI were almost entirely limited to discussions of the legal and professional repercussions for the celebrity herself, such as losing movie or television roles. Examining who is most often called upon to offer comment, researchers found that those involved in the justice process (police, district attorney, judge) were frequently quoted, whereas no story included quotes from public health stakeholders or DUI advocacy groups. Only one story suggested the possibility of a designated driver.

"This is really a missed opportunity. The fact that reported rates of driving impaired are higher among young adult drinkers and that drinking and driving in this age group is increasing suggests we need to be taking advantage of every opportunity we have to change behaviors and perceptions among this audience," said Andrea Gielen, ScD, a co-author of the study and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy. "Unfortunately, when media cover paltry legal consequences for the celebrities alongside routine use of their glamorous photos, we are likely doing a disservice to young people. We need to be getting the message to young people that drinking and driving is a serious issue with substantial legal and life-threatening consequences."


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Contact: Natalie Wood-Wright
nwoodwri@jhsph.edu
410-614-6029
Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health
Source:Eurekalert

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