$100,000 Federal Funding to Address Underage Drinking Among College Students

Five Grants Awarded to Statewide Prevention Providers

ALBANY, NY (09/21/2011)(readMedia)-- The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) recognizes that alcohol is the most abused substance by New York college students. Today, Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez is proud to announce federal grant awards totaling $100,000 to five statewide prevention providers to address underage drinking among college students.

Commissioner González-Sánchez said, "The consequences of alcohol use on and around college campuses are serious and often life threatening. Creating a change in the drinking culture on college campuses requires a coordinated and comprehensive approach. This funding will foster development of a college community coalition consisting of prevention professionals, college faculty, including public safety staff, community groups and law enforcement to prevent underage drinking among college students. Working together, we can best protect our future generations and help them achieve their greatest aspirations in life."

In an effort to create partnerships and address issues around alcohol problems, OASAS and the New York State Liquor Authority (SLA) will be presenting at the opening plenary of the New York Alcohol Policy Summit on October 6, 2011, at the Genesee Grand Hotel, Syracuse, NY. The Summit is hosted by the New York Alcohol Policy Alliance in partnership with the New York State Public Health Association, and Council on Addictions of New York State.

New York State Liquor Authority Chairman Dennis Rosen said, "As the consequences of underage drinking are too often tragic, keeping alcohol out of the hands of minors is a priority for the State Liquor Authority. We will continue conducting these underage decoy operations across the state and irresponsible licensees will be held accountable when their actions threaten public health and safety."

Addressing the issue of underage sales is a priority of the SLA. In August, the SLA conducted over 200 targeted compliance checks in the largest sting operation in the agency's history. The SLA targeted specific convenience stores and neighborhoods found to have a high activity of selling to minors. The investigators sent underage volunteer decoys into 212 licensed groceries in all five New York City boroughs. In total, the decoys were able to purchase alcohol at 123 of the premises. In July, the SLA conducted a similar operation in Western, NY, sending decoys to 124 grocery stores and charging 41 licensees with selling to a minor. These large scale decoy operations will continue throughout the state.

The underage drinking prevention grant funding is made available through the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Enforcing the Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) Block Grant. Since 2006, OJJD EUDL funding has provided resources for law enforcement agencies across the state to conduct hundreds of compliance checks of retail establishments.

The funding was awarded to not-for-profit OASAS-funded prevention providers who partner with colleges and law enforcement agencies to enforce underage drinking laws and coordinate community responses to reduce and eliminate youth alcohol access. Each prevention provider will receive up to $20,000 over the next year.

The awardees are required to do at least one law enforcement activity and be required to submit a quarterly report indicating their activities and expenditures. Other allowable activities may include: sobriety checkpoints, party patrols, retail compliance checks, shoulder tap details, evaluation of college and university alcohol and drug policies, responsible beverage training programs, enhance or develop college/campus community coalitions, an educational component, and media advocacy efforts.

The following lists the five award recipients, the college they are partnering with, and their required law enforcement activity:

Seven Valleys Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (Cortland Prevention Resources)

College: State University of New York at Cortland

Activity: SUNY Cortland Police Department and City of Cortland Police Department will work in collaboration to ensure the safety of all students on and off campus. Officers will enforce underage drinking laws by implementing Party Dispersal techniques.

Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Inc.

College: Hillbert College

Activity: Working with law enforcement to do sobriety checkpoints.

Madison County Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. (BRiDGES)

College: Morrisville State College

Activity: the Madison County Sherriff's Department will enhance underage drinking patrols, with a focus on the Route 20 Cooridor, a roadway which connects Morrisville College to the other institutions of higher education in Madison County, including Cazenovia College and Colgate University. Route 20 is the roadway with the second highest among DWI crashes in Madison County.

Champlain Valley Family Center

College: Plattsburgh State University of New York

Activity: The University Police will provide 6 additional shifts focused specifically on alcohol violation enforcement efforts. The overtime shifts will be provided on peak weekends. The enhanced efforts will operate in connection with the partnership's established restorative justice alternative sentencing program involving the City Court Judge and the Campus Judiciary. Students in violation of NYS ABC Laws are sentenced through the program to community service and attendance at panel discussion. If they do not fulfill their service obligation, they are petitioned to reappear in front of the City Court Judge and are re-sentenced.

Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse of Livingston County

College: State University of New York at Geneseo

Activity: One of the law enforcement strategies is to increase the number of party patrols on weekends and known popular party days when college is in session.

OASAS oversees one of the nation's largest addiction services systems dedicated to Prevention, Treatment and Recovery, with more than 1,550 programs serving over 110,000 New Yorkers on any given day. To get help for someone in need, call the toll-free, 24-hour, 7-day a week HOPEline at 1-877-8-HOPENY.