Congratulations to The Times and staff writer Bruce Keppel for spotlighting the intemperate pushing of booze upon a specially targeted, high-risk population. However, as early as 1975, Loran Archer, director of what was then California's Office of Alcohol Program Management, was blowing the whistle to state legislators about emerging, billboard life-style ads pushing booze not only in black ghettos but also in Latino barrios.
Archer has long been a deputy director of the federal government's National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. In a 1986 publication, "A Guide to Planning Alcoholism Treatment Programs," the institute reported that "alcohol abuse remains the No. 1 health problem in the black community." It's also been that way in the Latino community.
What is needed in a real war on alcohol in black and brown communities are more examples like Bubba Smith's refusal to do any more beer commercials and Fernando Valenzuela's commitment not to do any. But more importantly, grass-roots efforts are needed to fight the overconcentration of alcohol outlets, curb broadcast advertising, raise currently minuscule state and federal taxes on alcoholic beverages and bring about appropriate health and safety labeling of alcoholic beverages.
Advisory Committee Policy Chairman,
Americans for Substance Abuse
Prevention and Treatment