Underage drinking blitz nets 450 charges

Columbia, SC - COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - A nine-day enforcement and education blitz targeting underage drinkers resulted in 452 charges, a 360 percent increase over last year's blitz.

The South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) coordinated the effort - called "Out of Their Hands" - April 2-11.

Through the statewide campaign, South Carolina's Alcohol Enforcement Teams (AETs) helped direct activities aimed at limiting access to alcohol by underage people. According to organizers, the increased enforcement and public education efforts promote a safe end to the school year and a safe prom season.

The campaign resulted in:

  • 32 party-dispersal operations (compared to three during the same period in 2009);
  • 759 compliance checks (compared to 115 during the same period in 2009);
  • 71 public safety checkpoints (compared to 14 during the same period in 2009); and
  • 95 "shoulder tap" operations (compared to zero during the same period in 2009).

The operations led to 452 cases of charges being filed. During the period of April 2-11, 2009, only 125 cases resulted from similar operations.

"The No. 1 drug of abuse in South Carolina is alcohol," said W. Lee Catoe, director of DAODAS. "And no population is more vulnerable to the dangers of alcohol abuse than our state's young people. But DAODAS and its local agencies provide tools and support for the three tactics proven effective in the prevention of underage drinking: 1) reducing the availability of alcohol; 2) consistent enforcement of existing laws and regulations; and 3) changing norms and behaviors through education."

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