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CAST Coalition teaming up with law enforcement to reduce underage drinking

Source: Erin Edwards Source: Erin Edwards

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Local law enforcement is teaming up with the Community Action for a Safer Tomorrow (CAST) Coalition to crack down on underage drinking ahead of the start of the school year.

Members of CAST will be holding alcohol compliance checks on Wednesday and every month this school year. 

“CAST was formed to address issues with underage drinking here in Horry County,” said Rodney Sessions, a former Conway police captain and organizer chairman.

Sessions is now an investigator at Coastal Carolina University as well as the CAST chairman. The group includes law enforcement officials, members of Shoreline Behavioral Health Services, Horry County Schools and the South Carolina Department of Mental Health.

“Just about every different community sector involved in the community participates in the coalition,” Sessions said.

Every month, CAST holds alcohol compliance checks at different bars and liquor stores in Horry County, like McFadden’s Sports Bar. Owners at the bar are also preparing for the start of the school year.

“We get kids trying, but we work well with the liquor store next door so they tell us when they have a problem with a kid, and if we have a problem we tell them heads up and to look for them,” said Diane McFadden.

Sessions added that the goal of CAST is not just to punish underage drinkers, but to educate them.

“I’ve always taken an enforcement approach to the problem because I’m a law enforcement officer and that’s all that I knew. But me being involved in the coalition has shown me that education and prevention is also an important component. It’s just as important as enforcement, if not more enforcement,” said Sessions.

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