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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
June 24, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control
- Jerry Fischer, Director

 

Maureen Sczpanski
609-984-2529

 

Attorney General Unveils Summer ‘05 Efforts to Combat Underage Drinking at Jersey Shore
Results of 2004-2005 College Underage Drinking Initiative Released

TRENTON — Attorney General Peter C. Harvey and Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Director Jerry Fischer today announced a comprehensive law enforcement and public awareness effort to combat underage drinking in Shore resort areas this summer.

“We are partnering again with local and county law enforcement agencies to prevent underage drinking in Shore communities this summer,”Attorney General Harvey said. “Our goal is to protect young people from the serious consequences of underage drinking, which can include fights, car accidents, unplanned pregnancy and sometimes irreversible injury or death.”

According to Director Fischer, the effort combines enforcement and public awareness programs designed to both deter young people from purchasing alcohol in package goods stores, bars and nightclubs in and around resort areas, and to let them know about the dangers of underage alcohol use.

“By using a broad brush, comprehensive approach to fighting underage drinking this summer, we can let both young people and liquor licensees know about the severe risks they face if they choose to break the law,” Director Fischer stated.

Cops in Shops

According to Fischer, a total of 23 seashore municipalities will participate in the Cops in Shops program this summer, through a total of approximately $51,000 in funding provided by the State Division of Highway Traffic Safety. An additional 25 towns throughout the State, as well as the Gloucester County and Salem County Prosecutors’ Offices, will run Cops in Shops programs year-round beginning this summer, using $203,220 in funding provided by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. Five of these towns, as well as one additional municipality, will also run year-round Compliance Checks, which focus on identifying underage drinkers and those who serve them alcohol in bars, restaurants and nightclubs. (Note: The six towns are marked below with an *.)

Cops in Shops is a program designed by The Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization funded by America’s leading distillers, that is committed to fighting underage drinking. Under the program, local police officers work undercover in participating retail locations. Law enforcement officials either pose as store employees or are positioned outside the establishment to apprehend adults who attempt to purchase alcohol for underage drinkers.

As part of the program, retail outlets display posters and decals, provided by The Century Council, on doors, windows, counter tops, and cold cases warning underage drinkers that a police officer may be working undercover in the establishment.

"The Century Council is pleased to continue our efforts with the New Jersey ABC, and we are honored that our Cops in Shops program remains an integral part of this campaign. Every summer, the State of New Jersey sends a very clear message to youth under 21 - if you're too young to buy, don't even try. The Century Council, and the distilled spirits companies that fund us, applaud Attorney General Harvey and ABC Director Fischer on their leadership roles in keeping alcohol out of the hands of underage youth. We look forward to continuing our joint efforts in this important endeavor," said William P. Georges, Senior Vice President, The Century Council.

Participating seashore towns in the summer program are: Atlantic County — Absecon, Egg Harbor Township, Margate; Cape May County — Avalon, Lower Township, Middle Township, Sea Isle City, Wildwood; Monmouth County — Belmar, Ocean Township, Sea Girt, Lake Como; Ocean County —Beach Haven, Harvey Cedars, Lakehurst, Long Beach Township, Manchester Township, Ocean Township, Pt. Pleasant Beach, Pt. Pleasant Boro, Seaside Heights, Ship Bottom, Stafford Township.

Participating towns in the year-round program are: Atlantic County - Atlantic City; Bergen County - Fair Lawn, Garfield*; Burlington County - Burlington Township, Evesham, Medford; Cape May County - Cape May City*, North Wildwood*; Essex County - Belleville, Bloomfield, West Orange Township; Gloucester County - Prosecutor’s Office; Hudson County - Bayonne, Harrison*, Jersey City; Middlesex County - New Brunswick; Mercer County - Ewing; Monmouth County - Middletown Township, Neptune Township; Morris County - Boonton; Ocean County - Brick Township*, Dover Township; Union County - Rahway, Summit City; Salem County - Salem County Prosecutor’s Office; Somerset County - Hillsborough, Raritan* (Compliance Checks only); Warren County - Greenwich.

Since its inception in 1996, more than 4,400 underage persons and adults who have purchased alcohol for young people were arrested. Approximately 440 individuals were arrested last summer alone. Underage drinkers and the adults who purchase alcohol for them face a minimum fine of $500 and a mandatory loss of their driver’s license for six months.

County Prosecutors’ Efforts

Through grants provided through the State Division of Highway Traffic Safety, the Cape May, Atlantic, and Monmouth County Prosecutors’ Offices will work with ABC agents and local police officers in a joint undercover effort to identify underage drinkers and those who serve them in bars and restaurants throughout the respective counties. Cape May will receive $45,000, while Atlantic and Monmouth County will receive $25,000 each to implement their undercover efforts.

College Underage Drinking Initiative Arrest Results

Attorney General Harvey and ABC Director Fischer also announced today that a total of 146 individuals were arrested between October 2004 and May 2005 as a result of ABC’s initiative to combat underage drinking in and around college communities. Similar to the undercover efforts that will be conducted at the Shore this summer, this initiative focused on college towns and surrounding municipalities that have a large influx of young people during the school year. Under the program, ABC agents, working with local police departments, arrested underage persons, as well as bartenders, wait staff, store clerks and others who aided in the purchase of alcohol by those under the legal age, or who may have participated in other illegal activity. State ABC agents also carded more than 1,400 people in bars, liquor stores and nightclubs throughout the State under the initiative.

Undercover checks were made by State ABC agents and local police in Atlantic, Bergen, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Essex, Gloucester, Hudson, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Passaic and Union counties.

Television and Radio Public Service Announcements

A 30-second television public service announcement (PSA) focusing on the consequences of underage drinking will air on television stations in New Jersey throughout the summer. Produced in 2001, the spot is distributed every summer to stations viewed by young people as a reminder of the serious consequences individuals can face if they choose to drink under the legal age. In addition, a 60-second radio public service announcement targeting underage drinkers will also be distributed to all New Jersey radio stations for use in July and August. In the radio spot, Attorney General Harvey details the serious consequences of purchasing alcohol if you are under the age of 21.

Rounding out this effort are three new 30-second television public service announcements recently taped by Attorney General Harvey in conjunction with The Century Council, discussing the dangers of underage drinking. All broadcast media outlets in the New Jersey area recently received the new PSAs.

“Dangers of Alcohol” Calendar/Billboard Competition

Attorney General Harvey today announced the winner of the “Dangers of Alcohol” calendar/billboard competition. A cooperative effort between the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey, this statewide initiative is designed to encourage middle school students and their parents to work together to create calendar/billboard messages with the theme “Dangers of Alcohol.”

Director Fischer noted that, “By encouraging parents and children to work together on this program, we are fostering dialogue at an early age on the very real dangers of underage drinking. If we are to truly combat underage drinking, we must reach young people long before they are faced with making the wrong decision about alcohol use under the legal age.”

Now in its third year, the program produced more then 1,500 entries this year, up from approximately 1,000 last year. Thirteen winning messages, selected from the submissions, will be featured on a calendar to be distributed to middle schools at the start of the 2005-2006 school year. One message will be featured each month, and the grand prize winning message will be displayed on the calendar’s front cover. Additionally, the grand prize winning message, unveiled at today’s press conference, will be reproduced on highway billboards throughout the State.

“Once again, the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey is pleased to be working with the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control to help bring to light the dangers of underage drinking. This initiative is particularly exciting because it encourages parents, the front line in prevention, to collaborate with their children on this project,” stated Joseph P. Miele, Chairman of the Partnership for a Drug Free New Jersey.

The grand prize winner, the finalists and their schools are listed below:

Grand Prize Winner:

  • Siobhan Doran, Sycamore Drive School, Hazlet, Monmouth County.

Finalists:

  • Amanda Klein, Crossroads South Middle School, Monmouth Junction, Middlesex County;
  • Christopher Brzozowski, Cove Road School, Hazlet, Monmouth County;
  • Courtney Greenhalgh, Cinnaminson Middle School, Cinnaminson, Burlington County;
  • Heather McLaughlin, Bell Oaks Upper Elementary School, Bellmawr, Camden County;
  • Caisy Falzone, Sycamore Drive School, Hazlet, Monmouth County;
  • DeAndra King, Perth Amboy Catholic Middle School, Perth Amboy, Middlesex County;
  • Devon Knapp, Hopatcong Middle School, Hopatcong, Sussex County;
  • Max Wassd, Memorial School, Totowa, Passaic County;
  • Melissa Koffie, Immaculate Conception School, Trenton, Mercer County;
  • Chunbo Mouada, Memorial Middle School, Little Ferry, Bergen County;
  • Jonathan Vargas, Perth Amboy Catholic Middle School, Perth Amboy, Middlesex County; and
  • Alyssa Hetem, St. Bartholomew School, Scotch Plains, Union County.

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