Highlight Efforts to Cut Down Underage Drinking Ahead of Busy Prom and Graduation Ceremony Season
BOSTON — The Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC), an agency overseen by State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, kicked off a series of enhanced intervention and enforcement initiatives today, seeking to reduce underage drinking at bars, stores and restaurants during the potentially dangerous time of year approaching with hundreds of high school proms and graduations across the state.
“Enhanced monitoring and enforcement at bars and liquor stores can save lives,” said Treasurer Deborah Goldberg. “Operation Safe Spring takes immediate and effective steps that will serve as a long-term deterrent to bar and package store owners serving and selling underage people.”
Operation Safe Spring consists primarily of enforcement in the parking lots and surrounding streets of specific liquor stores that have historically had a serious problem with underage individuals purchasing alcoholic beverages through false identification or through adults procuring alcoholic beverages for them. The program is administered by the ABCC, a division of the Treasurer’s Office.
The program focuses on front-line prevention, with investigators calling a teen’s parents to pick them up when violations occur. ABCC officials say that most parents are unaware that their children are involved in the use of alcohol, and that the intervention is a powerful tool toward family involvement in addressing the problem of underage drinking. The program’s kick-off also coincides with Alcohol Awareness Month, which is intended to educate people and communities about the consequences of alcohol-related problems.
"We want to draw attention to the dangers of alcohol abuse and underage drinking," said Kim Gainsboro, chairperson of the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission. "We are making people aware that underage drinking can have devastating consequences on them and the individuals they love."
In 2014 these programs produced the following results: 721 minors in possession or transporting alcoholic beverages; 176 adults procuring alcohol for minors; 29 individuals in possession of false identification; and 382 cases of beer and 342 bottles of alcohol were confiscated by investigators, preventing delivery to approximately 4,948 underage individuals. Since 2005 these programs have resulted in the following cumulative results: 5,704 minors in possession or transporting alcoholic beverages; 2,557 adults procuring alcohol for minors; 598 individuals in possession of false identification; and 3,133 cases of beer and 2,305 bottles of alcohol were confiscated by investigators, preventing delivery to approximately 40,234 underage individuals.
Statistics show that three teens die from drinking and driving every day, and approximately six teens die every day of non-driving alcohol-related causes, such as homicide, suicide and drowning. Alcohol intoxication has also been reported to be involved in 47 percent of homicides and 23 percent of suicides involving people under 21. In Massachusetts alone, the overall cost of alcohol abuse by youth is estimated at $1.4 billion.