Midlands “Out of Their Hands” Efforts Target Alcohol Access by Anyone Under 21

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Midland’s Alcohol Enforcement Team (AET) kicks off the “Out of Their Hands” initiative to decrease alcohol access by persons under 21. Efforts take place during the month of April, recently proclaimed Alcohol Awareness Month by S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster.

“This time of year can be deadly for our youth. With prom season ending and school wrapping up soon, kids have more time to spend with their friends,” said Captain Courtney Dennis of the Irmo Police Department. “Crashes, hospital visits, and other tragedies occur when youth have access to alcohol.  Be responsible.”

Midlands AET, in coordination with the S.C. Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services (DAODAS) and local police agencies, are working to reduce underage drinking during the prom and graduation season—high-risk months for youth. Midlands AET, which includes law enforcement from Richland, Kershaw, Lexington, McCormick, Edgefield and Saluda counties, participate with 14 other enforcement teams in the state’s Tenth Annual “Out of Their Hands” Spring Blitz. All enforcement efforts are for the prevention of youth accessing or using alcohol products. Increased local enforcement plans include:

  • Compliance checks: enforce compliance of alcohol laws by merchants/sellers of alcohol.
  • Party patrols: prevent parties before they happen or enforcement operations to disperse parties
  • Public safety checkpoints: allow law enforcement officers to detect and apprehend impaired drivers
  • Project stick shock: youth partner with local law enforcement to spread “Out of Their Hands” signage throughout the community

In addition to increased enforcement activities, Midlands AET is hosting two free trainings:

  • Creating Environmental Change on Alcohol, April 9th, for community partners, prevention specialists, law enforcement, community coalitions and others that are interested
  • Alcohol Server Training (PREP), April 29th, for merchants who sell alcohol – bartenders, waiters, convenience/grocery store clerks

The Midlands Alcohol Enforcement Team (AET) is a specialized group of law enforcement officers dedicated to enforcing underage drinking laws. The AET incorporates specialized training and strategies to focus on reducing access and use of alcohol by underage persons. For more information, contact Nicole King at nking@lradac.org or 803.726.9392.

LRADAC is the designated alcohol abuse and drug abuse authority for Lexington and Richland Counties of South Carolina. The public, not-for-profit agency offers a wide array of prevention, intervention and treatment programs in locations convenient to residents of both counties. The agency has a budget of approximately $10 million and serves more than 5,000 clients per year.