GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Greenville Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Coalition announced the Fifth wave for the underage drinking enforcement and education campaign called “Underage Drinking. Adult Consequences” will start December 17 and run through December 31, 2012. The upcoming Enforcement and Public Education wave theme is meant to encourage a safe and sober holiday season for youth and young adults under 21 years old. Law enforcement will focus efforts around Christmas and New Year’s parties that may provide access to alcohol for underage partiers. Thus far, the campaign has made a serious impact. There were more than 921 operations resulting in 194 citations or arrests during the first four enforcement and education waves, which were held in the last two weeks in April, June, August, and September 2012.
As with the previous four waves, the focus of fifth 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. Law enforcement will be conducting increased party patrols, public safety checkpoints, saturation patrols, and other enforcement operations meant to decrease alcohol access for individuals not of legal drinking age. “In South Carolina, it is a violation of the state law for anyone under 21 years old to possess, consume, or attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages.,” stated Chief Lance Crowe with the Travelers Rest Police Department. “In addition, it is a violation of the law for anyone regardless of his or her age to sell or otherwise transfer alcohol to anyone in that age group.”
Mostly, social sources remain the most common method underage individuals receive alcohol. “According to 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveys, Greenville County youth who admitted past 30 day use of alcohol stated almost 70 percent of the time they had obtained alcohol from friends, family, or strangers.” said Curtis Reece, Manager of Prevention Services at The Phoenix Center of Greenville. “That same survey reveals that over 30 percent of youth admitted either driving after drinking or riding with a driver that had been drinking.”
Consequently, this campaign is not just about tickets or arrests for alcohol access. It is about saving lives in Greenville County. The CDC estimates that approximately 85 youth and young adults die in South Carolina each year due to alcohol related crashes, intentional and unintentional accidents associated with alcohol access. Nationally, about 4,600 to 5,000 youth and