Greenville EUDL Coalition Announces 4th Wave of “Underage Drinking -Adult Consequences.” Halloween/High School Football Campaign Focus
The Greenville Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Coalition announced the fourth wave for the underage drinking enforcement and education campaign called “Underage Drinking. Adult Consequences” will start October 18 and run through October 31. The upcoming Enforcement and Public Education wave theme is meant to encourage a safe and sober Halloween for youth and young adults under 21 years old. Law enforcement will also focus efforts around high school football games and possible parties that occur after those football games. Thus far, the campaign has made a serious impact. There were more than 699 operations resulting in 180 citations or arrests during the first three enforcement and education waves, which were held in April, June, and August 2012.
As with the previous three waves, the focus of fourth wave is on individuals under 21 years old who still have not received the message that it is against the law for them to possess, purchase, or consume alcohol. It is also against the law for anyone, regardless of his or her age, to give or sell alcohol to that same group of individuals. The campaign premise is based on research that has shown that strict enforcement coupled with public education reduces alcohol related crashes and use of alcohol by individuals under 21 years old.
Law enforcement will be conducting increased party patrols to stop the drinking before it begins. Should anyone decide to drive after drinking alcoholic beverages, deputies, and officers will be patrolling and holding public safety checkpoints to apprehend impaired drivers. “In South Carolina, the presumptive limit for an adult driver’s BAC is .08, while the BAC must not be .02 or greater for drivers under 21 years old.” stated Matt Smith, the 13th Circuit Alcohol Enforcement Team Coordinator. “ Anyone under the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years can be ticketed or arrested if law enforcement finds that they have been consuming any alcohol.”
Besides being against the law, alcohol use by those under 21 is a major public health problem. “According to CDC underage drinking facts about underage drinking, there were 189,000 emergency room visits by this group due to injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol.” said Curtis Reece, Manager of Prevention Services at The Phoenix Center of Greenville. “The sad thing about this fact is that that group should not even consume alcohol, yet people aged 12 to 20 years drink 11% of all alcohol consumed in the United States.”
In late 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) awarded the Greenville Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Coalition a special enforcement grant in an effort to save more lives on local roadways. The Greenville County Alcohol Enforcement Team (AET) is responsible for enforcing the underage drinking laws as a part of the cooperative agreement between NHTSA and the Greenville County EUDL Coalition.
The Phoenix Center of Greenville prevention staff coordinates the Coalition and the grant activities. After the upcoming October enforcement wave, there are two more waves planned every other month before the grant ends in January 2013.
For more information please visit www.NHTSA.gov.