Addictive substances, including alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. Photo: Adobe Stock Images

The Multicultural Consortium for Responsible Drinking (MCRD), a working group focused on increasing awareness on the risks of alcohol-related harm and providing education in diverse communities across the country, launched with the support of Diageo North America and leading Black, Latino, and Native American organizations. In its initial phase, members of the MCRD met in Washington, DC, to establish a framework aimed at developing a national public awareness program to reduce the impact of alcohol misuse in communities of color.

Educating people on the effects of alcohol and the impact of impaired driving –including the debunking of myths and misconceptions across these communities– is a key priority for this unique group. The MCRD will combine knowledge and expertise of member organizations, along with Diageo North America’s educational resources, including:

  • Wrong Side of the Road, an interactive digital experience featuring real stories of impaired drivers who share their consequences (https://drinkdriving.drinkiq.com/); and
  • DRINKiQ.com (also available in Spanish language at DRINKiQ.com/espanol), a platform that helps people understand the effects of alcohol and empowers them to make responsible choices around alcohol.

“The Black Church has always been at the forefront of important social issues that impact people of African heritage. Alcohol misuse is a fundamental problem that requires sustainable collaboration and immediate action,” said Reverend Anthony Evans, President, National Black Church Initiative (NBCI). “NBCI is proud to be a member of the MCRD to help stamp out this problem in communities of color and create new strategies to impart this difficult problem,” continued Evans.

“I am thankful for the collaboration with Diageo within our communities of color, especially with the company’s educational platforms, to help raise public awareness and prevent misuse,” said civil rights icon, Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr, President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) representing over 230 Black-owned community newspapers.

“We welcome the opportunity to be a part of the MCRD and use Latino platforms to educate the Latino community about responsible drinking,” said Alvaro Gurdian, President and CEO, National Association of Hispanic Publications (NAHP) reaching over 23 million people of Hispanic heritage in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

“Essentially, every culture shares the joy of music, food, and celebrating responsibly with families and loved ones.”, said Luis Belen, Chief Executive Officer of the National Health IT Collaborative for the Underserved. “As a Latino, I have seen our communities struggle throughout the COVID19 pandemic with mental health challenges and substance misuse. ‘Now’ is always the best time to take action, and NHIT is deeply honored to help launch this consortium. We hope the NHIT Data Fusion Center will provide the foundation for the consortium’s data-driven approach. Through the data, we seek to understand the social circumstances of our communities better and use that knowledge to guide our educational content and outreach strategies. At the same time, we work purposefully and collaboratively toward meaningful change,” stated Belen.

Diageo North America has a longstanding record of working to change the way the world drinks for the better by encouraging moderation and continuing to address alcohol-related harm, expanding its programs that tackle impaired driving and binge drinking. The MCRD initiative furthers Diageo’s commitment in this space as part of its Society 2030 action plan to promote a positive drinking agenda.

“Providing educational tools and information about alcohol will help communities make informed decisions and prevent misuse,” said Stephanie Childs, Executive Vice President, Corporate Relations, Diageo North America. “We are honored to join forces with such distinguished leaders representing diverse communities to reach even more people.”

In addition to the founding members of the MCRD, the group aspires to grow in representation and reach across Black, Latino, and Native American law enforcement, community, faith-based and media organizations.