The Leadership To Keep Children Alcohol Free Foundation (LKCAFF) has launched a new nationwide effort – ENGAGE – to tackle childhood alcohol consumption in the US.

Funded by a $20,000 grant from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), the project starts with forming virtual statewide partnerships in each state.

Alcohol is the number one drug of choice among 10 million Americans between ages 12-20, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

Two in five persons who start consuming before age 15 will become dependent on alcohol at some time in their lives.

Every year around 5,000 people under age 21 die from alcohol-related injuries involving underage drinking.

Academic failure, illicit drug use, tobacco use, and a range of harmful physical effects from hangovers to alcohol poisoning, are all associated with underage drinking.

ENGAGE allows users to develop their own sub-groups or conversations for specific underage drinking prevention tasks.

It will post timely alerts and success stories from the different states, and allows users to recruit more people for their conferences and events from all states.

LKCAFF board president Hope Taft said that the virtual network will allow them to organise and present webinars, promote upcoming conferences, and aggregate news feeds about what is happening around the country related to underage drinking control, law enforcement and accessibility.

NABCA president and CEO Jim Sgueo said by forming virtual state wide coalitions of groups interested in childhood drinking prevention many ideas and actions are sure to result in how to prevent it.

LKCAFF is a non-profit organisation of current and emeritus governors’ spouses focused on preventing or reducing the incidence and prevalence of childhood/underage drinking.

NABCA, a national association representing the Control State Systems, provides credible resources, compiling research and fostering relationships to address policy for the responsible sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.