Campaign to curb underage drinking across SC

Myrtle Beach, SC - By Laura Thomas - bio | email

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Law enforcement agencies from around the state kicked off a campaign Thursday to curb underage drinking.

It's called the "Out of Their Hands" initiative, and is an effort to keep alcohol out of the hands of underage teens.

Sean Fay, who works with crime analysis and crime prevention for the Myrtle Beach Police Department, says this will hopefully serve as a reminder to be careful, especially during this time when students are graduating, are on spring break, and going to prom.

"I think with us being a tourist destination, obviously a lot of kids come down, almost like it's a rite of passage," explained Fay. "They feel comfortable doing things here that they might not do at home. Maybe they think they won't get caught, or what happens here stays here, and unfortunately, that's not the case."

In fact, 17 people were arrested over the weekend for being minors of possession of alcohol. Some of them were Carolina Forest High School students after the school's prom. Police say this is just one of many examples of why the South Carolina Alcohol Enforcement Team launched this campaign.

Fay adds that Myrtle Beach is an area where a lot of teens come to party, but if they're underage, that's illegal.

"You know we want to get that message out there - let them know that this is not a tolerable thing to do here," said Fay. "It's not the right choice to make because the choices they make now can affect them later on in life."

Dawn Hancock, coordinator for the 12th Judicial Circuit, says that teens these days consume more alcohol than previous generations. She says they mostly drink hard liquor.

"We want to send a message throughout the state that South Carolina takes underage drinking very seriously," said Hancock.

Capt. Mike Nunn of the Florence County Sheriff's Department adds that this is a statewide initiative.

"Not only is it dangerous to their health, it's against the law. They're not allowed to possess alcohol or consume alcohol," said Nunn.

Nunn also says that parents should be careful.

"Parents, or older individuals who provide the alcohol to them, it's also a crime, and there's serious criminal and potentially civil consequences for doing so," said Nunn.

Police around the state say they will be watching and making sure that the alcohol does in fact stay out of teen's hands, so they can stay out of trouble.

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