Treasurer Goldberg and ABCC Launch "Operation Safe Campus"
An Effort to Keep Students Safe from Alcohol-Related Harm
BOSTON — The Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC), under the direction of State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, has launched Operation Safe Campus. The annual program is designed to target underage drinking on college campuses and in surrounding communities to 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 saves lives and prevents tragedies before they happen," said State Treasurer Deborah B. Goldberg, who oversees the ABCC. "We want to make sure that underage people are aware that drinking and driving can have devastating consequences upon them and those they love."
The enforcement efforts focus primarily on the parking lots and surrounding streets of liquor stores and bars that have had significant problems with underage individuals purchasing alcoholic beverages with false identification or through adults buying alcoholic beverages for them.
Investigators will also be focusing on delivery apps that provide alcohol. Last year, Investigators found that students ordered and paid for the alcohol through the apps, after which the drivers picked up the alcohol from stores and delivered it to the underage students, who were found to be waiting for the alcohol delivery on street corners with empty duffle bags and suitcases. 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 ABCC. "We are making people aware that underage drinking can have devastating consequences on them and the individuals they love." In 2022, ABCC enhanced enforcement found 691 minors in possession or transporting alcoholic beverages, 92 adults procuring alcohol for minors, 178 individuals in possession of false identification, and 289 cases of beer and 168 bottles of alcohol were confiscated by Investigators, preventing delivery to approximately 2836 underage individuals. In addition, bars and liquor stores were charged with 263 counts of sale to underage persons.
Since 2005 these programs have resulted in the following cumulative results: 11,901 minors in possession or transporting alcoholic beverages; 3569 adults procuring alcohol for minors; 1690 individuals in possession of false identification; and 5507 cases of beer and 4680 bottles of alcohol were confiscated, preventing delivery to approximately 74,260 underage individuals. 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.
Massachusetts IMPACT impaired driving data shows that 10% of all traffic fatalities involve drivers under the age of 21.
Massachusetts is among the top ten states for binge drinking, with more than 1 in 4 (27.75%) adults age 18 or older reporting they binged on alcohol in 2020. Among young people ages 12 to 20, 20.77% reported alcohol use in the past month and 11.81% reported binge alcohol use in the past month in Massachusetts. The national averages were 17.32% and 10.14%, respectively.
One in three (33.86%) substance abuse treatment admissions among persons aged 12 and older in 2019 in Massachusetts were alcohol related.