It Takes All of Us

About the Initiative

The North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission has been charged by Governors McCrory and Cooper with directly addressing the issue of underage drinking. The ABC Commission established the Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking, which in addition to local community outreach, conducts annual statewide quantitative and qualitative research surveys to gauge the magnitude of the problem and the mindset of parents and children. The results of these collaborative efforts form the basis of the messaging of the ongoing Talk it Out multi-media campaign.

Together, we can prevent underage drinking.

Getting people in North Carolina to address the dangers of underage drinking — and to change behavior that many mistakenly believe is harmless — is no small task.

That’s why we’re committed to using every resource at our disposal and working with as many like-minded partners as possible, to talk about a problem that’s been swept under the rug for far too long. We can start the conversation. We can begin to change minds. We can protect North Carolina’s children. Together, we can solve this problem.

We can make a difference.

Through our research, we confirmed that there is, in fact, a problem: Too many kids are drinking. Too many parents are unaware of the scope. Neither group feels comfortable dealing with the issue or has a good handle on the facts.

But we also identified a solution: Kids want and expect to hear from their parents. Parents want to be better prepared. And better communication can go a long way toward reducing underage drinking.

That’s why Talk It Out exists — to fill the gap with real information and honest discussion. And to start the long, challenging process of reducing underage drinking, and all the harm it causes in North Carolina.

Talk It Out NC Leadership

Jeff Strickland, Jr. serves as Public Affairs Director for the NC Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking. Strickland has experience in grant management, event planning, and marketing.

He is a native of Pinehurst where he matriculated as the valedictorian of his public high school and is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Phone: (919) 948-7895

Burna Mattocks serves as the Director of Special Services. She began her career with the ABC Commission in 2004 assisting with the creation of the then Education Division. Seventeen years later have come full circle and returned to the Education Outreach and NC Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking sections.

Her background spans 23 years in health care where she was manager of a Health and Wellness Center, providing wellness classes and community events, as well as, manager of a Primary Care Management team inclusive of Primary Care, Emergency Room, Immunization and Medical records. She holds a B.S. degree in Business Management from National Louis University.

Phone: (919) 817-1523

Heather Murray started working with the ABC Commission in May 2019. She does the “behind the scene” work in the education outreach division. Heather handles most of the scheduling. She previously worked in Human Resources for 4 years, and before that, she taught Pre-k. She wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives. Talk It Out has made a huge impact in others and she wants to continue to make a difference.

Phone: 919-948-7909

Rodney PoolRodney Poole comes to the Education Outreach Division of the ABC Commission with an extensive history of spreading the word about the dangers of underage substance abuse. He holds a B.A degree in psychology from Shaw University and has been in long term recovery for the past twenty-nine years. After college, he taught middle school and has worked with at-risk youth for the bulk of his career. Rodney has worked as an international substance abuse prevention speaker for the past ten years. His work with students, teachers, and parents has taken him to Dubai, Qatar, Singapore, Mumbai, New Delhi, Viet Nam, Laos, Thailand, Nairobi and all over the U.S. He is truly committed to reducing underage drinking in the state of North Carolina.

Phone: 919-948-7910


Talk It Out is proud to work together with a large number of organizations who share our commitment to reduce underage drinking. Our partners include representatives from all of the following:

  • Education Community
  • First Responders and Law Enforcement Community
  • Medical Community

View the complete list of our Partners.


Coalitions are community groups (local, state, national) who are interested in the subject of reducing underage drinking.

View the county-by-county list of our coalition members.

Together, these diverse groups create a strong statewide network. Regardless of the initial starting point of a particular coalition, they all arrive at the same goal: a desire to change the culture in North Carolina around underage drinking.

North Carolina is a big state and we know we cannot do this alone.

Have you been working with a group in your area that could join forces with us? Please consider joining our team.

Is there something that we can do to help you grow your existing organization or to reach your specific community goals? We can send materials, provide speakers, promote your events, and link to your website from our list of local coalitions. Just let us know what you need.

Join the Coalition

Would you like to personally get involved with a group in your area? Click here to view county-by-county list of Coalition Members.

Special Initiatives & Additional Resources

Speaker Bureau

Funded by a grant from the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), the Talk It Out Speaker Bureau is using the power of public speaking engagements to raise awareness about the issue of underage drinking in North Carolina.

The Bureau features a list of pre-approved speakers whose lives have been directly impacted by underage drinking tragedies. The speakers, who are both parents and children, share their tragic stories and discuss the real consequences of underage drinking. They are available to speak to any size group at your local venue, with their travel expenses and Talk it Out materials covered by the grant.

For more information, contact Jeff Strickland at

The BAT Mobile

The Forensic Tests for Alcohol Branch of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services strives to reduce the incidence of impaired driving by providing comprehensive education programs through the use of their Breath Alcohol Testing (BAT) Mobile Unit in conjunction with the Talk it Out campaign.

The BAT Mobile has been labeled as one of the most visible and effective programs in the state, not only for enforcement, but also as a public health education tool.

bat-mobileThe BAT Mobile is a 45-foot vehicle that is fully equipped for processing drivers at DWI (driving while impaired) checkpoints to provide scientific support for state prosecutors. Traveling teams of law enforcement personnel operate the vehicle, give educational speeches, and facilitate live demonstrations.

Nine BAT Mobile units are available statewide—at no cost—to travel and participate in community events to help raise awareness about the dangers of driving while impaired.

To book the BAT Mobile at your next event, CLICK HERE, download the form, and follow the instructions for submission.

For more information, contact NC DHHS directly at

MADD Victim Services

Mothers Against Drunk Driving® is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to prevent underage drinking, end drunk driving, help fight drugged driving, and support the victims of these crimes.

maddlogo2011_grey_redWhen tragedy strikes, victims need support. MADD helps victims and survivors of substance-impaired driving crashes cope with the devastating impacts by providing emotional support and advocating for victims’ rights. MADD helps victims survive and thrive.

For more information about this free service contact or click here: or call their 24-hour Helpline at 877-MADD-HELP

Get Involved

We’re looking for good ideas from all over our great state — from PTAs, coaches, law enforcement, students, parents, churches, counselors, and from you.

Join our efforts. Tell us how you’d like to get involved. Take a stand to help make North Carolina better, safer, stronger.

Contact Us

Talk It Out NC
North Carolina ABC Commission
400 East Tryon Road
Raleigh, NC 27610