The very first issue of Listen magazine was printed in July-September of 1948. In it, J. L. McElharry, President of the American Temperate Society, laid the aims and purposes of the new magazine. "To enlighten the American public with the latest scientific and medical research on the effect of the use of alcoholic beverages on the human body . . . To promote better living, and a more abundant and happy life, and thus to offset the lure of alcohol, and other forms of intemperance."
In the late forties and the fifties, Listen's primary focus was on alcohol. Experts were beginning to truly see the dangerous affects of drinking, and Listen shared the facts with the public. Big names like Roy Rogers and Bobby Morrow spoke out against intemperance through the pages of the magazine. In 1951, Rogers wrote a letter to Listen's then editor, J. A. Buckwalter saying, "Thanks for the opportunity to express my views on the subject of alcoholism and its effects. Your publication is to be complimented for the stand it is taking to counteract this force for evil."
In the sixties and seventies, LSD, marijuana, heroin, and cocaine became the drugs of choice in the United States. During two psychedelic decades that many people spent in a drug-induced haze, Listen stood strong against drug use. Along with Listen, the entire Osmond family showed their support for a drug-free lifestyle in a 1975 cover interview. Said Marie, "we don't smoke, we don't drink, we don't take any kind of stimulant."
The 80s saw the rising popularity of cocaine and crack cocaine. The extremely addictive drug, often called "the ultimate high," hooked people from all walks of life; but not Cal Ripken, Jr. In a 1986 cover interview, he told Listen, "I've never had the urge to try drugs, because I've always believed that they can harm your body. I don't want to put anything foreign inside my body that could affect my coordination or my ability to make decisions."
AIDS. By the 90s, the disease that surfaced ten years earlier had become an epidemic; it seemed that everyone knew someone with AIDS. Thousands of people were becoming infected as a result of promiscuity and intravenous drug use. But some knew how to keep their life risk free. "I am a virgin," said Rebecca St. James in 1997, "and I will stay that way till I'm married. I'm really committed to this, and I encourage other kids to wait."
Sixty three years after it's introduction, Listen ceased publication. This Web site remains as a way to teach kids about the consequences of drugs, offer help to those already involved, and promote the benefits of healthy living.