New Campaign Calls for Community Action against Underage Drinking

LRADAC, AET and Midlands Crimestoppers Collaborate in an Effort to Address Underage Drinking

Columbia, SC – April and May are a relatively high-risk time for youth and substance use surrounding prom and graduation celebrations. LRADAC hosted a press conference, April 12, to announce a partnership with the 5th and 11th Circuit Alcohol Enforcement Team (AET) and Midlands Crimestoppers in an effort to combat the dangers of underage drinking.

In South Carolina, alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug by youth. According to the most recent data available from the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, 3,694 drivers under the age 21 were involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes from 2007 to 2014, which averages to about 480 drivers a year.

“We have an opportunity to do something really positive and meaningful. We can no longer ignore what alcohol has and continues to do to our children,” said Corporal David Myers, West Columbia Police Department. “Access to alcohol and underage drinking is everyone’s problem and its solution is everybody’s responsibility. This has to stop and it can with your help.”

The campaign is designed to provide the public with a way to anonymously alert law enforcement about the underage purchasing or consumption of alcohol with the purpose of protecting youth from significant risks and consequences of underage drinking. Crimestoppers wants the community to report underage drinking and other alcohol violations by doing the following:

  • Phone Tip — call toll free number at 1-888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372)
  • Web Tip —visit midlandscrimestoppers.com and click the submit a tip tab
  • Mobile Tip — download the new P3 Tips app on your Apple or Android Device

A media kit can be found at www.lradac.org/prevention. The kit includes images for social media and flyers that can be shared by the community and its leaders to spread awareness about the initiative.

In addition to reporting underage drinking, the partnership encourages parents, families and communities to talk with your youth about the dangers of substance use.

“Talk to your youth frequently about where you stand on this issue.  They are much more likely to resist the temptation to drink if they know your expectations for them.  While it may not always seem to be the case, parents still do have influence over their teens and we do shape their values and behaviors,” said Dr. Pam Imm. “Let’s celebrate our youth with love and support not with condoning their use of alcohol or other drugs.”

The press conference took place on April 12th, 2018 at 10:30 a.m. at the LRADAC Richland Campus located in Columbia at 2711 Colonial Drive. Speakers included:

  • Gayle Aycock, President and CEO of LRADAC
  • Chip Johnson, LRADAC Board Chairman
  • Judy Powers, Crimestoppers Board Chair
  • Corporal David Myers, West Columbia Police Department
  • Pam Imm, Parent Representative

The 5th & 11th Circuit AET is a specialized group of law enforcement officers dedicated to enforcing underage drinking laws. AET incorporates specialized training and strategies to focus on reducing access to and use of alcohol by underage persons. The 5th circuit covers Richland and Kershaw Counties and the 11th circuit includes Lexington, Saluda, Edgefield and McCormick Counties.

Midlands Crimestoppers was developed as an effective crime-solving organization throughout the world, with the primary objective of this tri-partite organization, Community, Media and Law Enforcement, “Working Together to Solve Crime.”

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.