An Effort to Keep Students Safe from Alcohol-Related Harm
BOSTON -- The Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC), under the direction of state Treasurer Deb Goldberg, has launched Operation Safe Campus. The annual program is designed to target underage drinking on college campuses and prevent tragedies by keeping alcoholic beverages out of the hands of underage students. This initiative begins each year when students return to colleges and universities throughout the Commonwealth.
"Increased enforcement efforts save lives and prevent tragedies before they happen," said Treasurer Deb Goldberg, who oversees the ABCC. "Operation Safe Campus helps to control underage drinking and acts as an effective deterrent to serving and selling to minors."
The initiative primarily consists of enforcement in the parking lots and surrounding streets of specific liquor stores and bars that have historically had severe problems with underage individuals purchasing alcoholic beverages through false identification or through adults buying alcoholic beverages for them.
The program focuses on front-line prevention, with investigators calling a teen's parents 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.
"We want to draw attention to the dangers of alcohol abuse and underage drinking," said Jean Lorizio, 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 2017, ABCC enhanced enforcement found 826 minors in possession or transporting alcoholic beverages, 115 adults procuring alcohol for minors, 226 individuals in possession of false identification, and 336 cases of beer and 441 bottles of alcohol were confiscated by Investigators, preventing delivery to approximately 5754 underage individuals. In addition, 133 bars and liquor stores were charged with 223 counts of sale to underage persons.
Approximately 1,825 college students between the aged 18--24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries, including motor vehicle crashes; 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking and 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. In Massachusetts alone, the overall cost of alcohol abuse by youth is estimated at $1.4 billion.