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Boston — Massachusetts State Treasurer Deb Goldberg along with the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) have launched Operation Safe Campus. The annual program is designed to specifically target underage drinking on college campuses. 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 a severe problem 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 2016 ABCC enhanced enforcement found 1027 minors in possession or transporting alcoholic beverages, 223 adults procuring alcohol for minors and 118 individuals in possession of false identification. Investigators confiscated approximately 399 cases of beer and 469 bottles of alcohol, preventing delivery to approximately 6286 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.