News Release

Health Department of Northwest Michigan
serving Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego Counties
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Charlevoix and Emmet County youth count references to alcohol and tobacco in kids’ movies

Kids should not use alcohol and tobacco and you’d think movies targeting young people wouldn’t glamorize use either, right? Wrong, according to the SAFE, Substance Abuse Free Environments, a group of youth from several local schools.

Twenty students, from high schools in Boyne Falls, Charlevoix, East Jordan, Harbor Springs, Pellston, and Petoskey reviewed several “G” and “PG” movies and tracked the number of alcohol and tobacco in each.

“The SAFE kids could not believe that every movie they reviewed had cartoon characters using tobacco, alcohol or drugs, especially because these are not films for adults,” said Kristen Fettig, who coordinates substance abuse prevention activities in Charlevoix County for the Health Department of Northwest Michigan.

The students reviewed both current and older children’s movies, including 101 Dalmatians, Aladdin 2, Alice in Wonderland, The Aristocrats, Dumbo, Madagascar, Sleeping Beauty and Shrek.

They identified examples of characters drinking beer, wine, champagne, pina coladas, and martinis, sometimes getting intoxicated. Some characters smoked cigars, pipes and cigarettes and others took sleeping pills.

“This was important activity because it was, like all SAFE youth projects, initiated by teens to send a positive and constructive message helping to create and maintain a drug-free community,” said Fettig.

Charlevoix County Community Foundation and Petoskey Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation provide funding for SAFE youth activities in Charlevoix and Emmet County.

The Health Department of Northwest Michigan is mandated by the Michigan Public Health Code to promote wellness, prevent disease, provide quality healthcare, address health problems of vulnerable populations, and protect the environment for the residents and visitors of Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet, and Otsego counties. For additional information about the Charlevoix SAFE group, call Fettig at 231-347-5144.

Picture left to right: Elliott Drake, Nicole Love, Kallie Hansen, Karinne Smolenyak, Lindsy Laway, and Kristen Matelski are members of Substance Abuse Free Environments (SAFE), which has members from Harbor Springs, Pellston, Petoskey, Charlevoix, Boyne Falls and Boyne City high schools. They work together to create awareness about substance abuse prevention. The Health Department of Northwest Michigan coordinates SAFE with grant funds from Charlevoix County Community Foundation and Petoskey-Harbor Springs Area Community Foundation.