Last weekend, the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC), under the direction of state Treasurer Deb Goldberg, will implement Operation Safe Campus. The program objective is to proactively prevent tragedies by keeping alcoholic beverages out of the hands of underage students on and around college campuses throughout Massachusetts.
“Stepped-up monitoring and enforcement can save lives and prevent tragedies before they happen,” said Massachusetts State Treasurer and Receiver General Deborah B. Goldberg, who oversees the ABCC. “Operation Safe Campus 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 to minors.”
The initiative primarily consists of enforcement in the parking lots and surrounding streets of specific liquor stores and in bars that have historically had a serious problem with underage individuals purchasing alcoholic beverages through false identification or through adults procuring alcoholic beverages for them.
The program focuses on front-line prevention, with investigators often 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 and make people aware that underage drinking can have devastating consequences on them and the individuals they love,” said Goldberg. “By increasing awareness, we are educating college students and their families as well as proactively targeting specific events and time periods throughout the year in order to prevent these situations.”
The bars and liquor stores that are charged will be summoned for a hearing before the ABCC; if found to have violated the law, the bar’s liquor license could be subject to suspension, modification or revocation.
In 2018, ABCC programs produced the following results: 998 minors in possession or transporting alcoholic beverages; 174 adults procuring alcohol for minors; 164 individuals in possession of false identification; with 378 cases of beer and 508 bottles of alcohol confiscated by Investigators, preventing delivery to approximately 6,592 underage individuals. In addition, 89 bars and liquor stores were charged with 209 counts of sale to underage persons.
Alcohol studies have reported:
•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;
•97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape; and
•the overall cost of alcohol abuse by youth in Massachusetts is estimated at $1.4 billion.