For Immediate Release - April 13, 2011

Treasurer Launches Operation Safe Spring

Enforcement Effort Aimed at Reducing Incidence of Underage Drinking

State Treasurer Steven Grossman today announced the commencement of "Operation Safe Spring," an enhanced intervention and enforcement effort aimed at reducing the incidence of underage drinking. The initiative is timed during this potentially dangerous time of year when classes end and high school proms and graduations take place throughout the Commonwealth.

"Stepped-up monitoring and enforcement can save lives and prevent tragedies before they happen," said Treasurer Grossman. "Operation Safe Spring takes immediate and effective steps that result in the direct prevention of underage drinking and acts as a long-term deterrent to bar and package store owners serving and selling underage individuals."

Operation Safe Spring consists primarily of enforcement in the parking lots and surrounding streets of specific liquor stores that have historically had a problem with underage individuals purchasing alcoholic beverages through false identification or through adults procuring alcoholic beverages for them. The program is administered by the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC), a division of the Treasurer's Office.

The program focuses on front-line prevention, with investigators calling a minor's parents to pick them up when infractions 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.

"During Alcohol Awareness Month we want to draw attention to the dangers of alcohol abuse and underage drinking," said Kim S. Gainsboro, chairman 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."

Since 2001, ABCC Investigators have conducted the Operation Safe Spring program with the following results:

  • 4900 minors have been found to be in possession of or transporting alcoholic beverages
  • 2600 adults have been caught procuring alcohol for minors
  • 625 individuals have been found to be in possession of false identification
  • 2600 cases of beer and 1650 bottles of alcohol have been confiscated by Investigators.

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% of homicides and 23% of suicides involving people under 21. In Massachusetts alone, the overall cost of alcohol abuse by youth is estimated at $1.4 billion annually.