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Kentucky Curbs Underage Drinking, Gets National Award
KSP recognizes ABC, other partners


Date of Release: 09/21/05

(Left to right) Lt. Eric Walker, commander of the Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP), and Kentucky State Police Commissioner Mark Miller present Lavoyed Hudgins, executive director, Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), and Jim Acquisto, ABC director of enforcement, with a plaque recognizing ABC's support in helping to reduce underage drinking in Kentucky. GHSP recently received a national award for a program that helped decrease underage youth's access to alcohol at establishments licensed to sell liquor to an all time low of 17 percent. Click here for high resolution pictureFRANKFORT, KY (Sept. 21, 2005) - The Kentucky State Police (KSP) Governor's Highway Safety Program recently received a national award for its efforts to reduce underage drinking.

The Governor's Highway Safety Program (GHSP) program received the award during a recent national conference in Tucson from the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center. The award was for GHSP's Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program, which has helped reduce underage youth's access to alcohol at establishments licensed to sell liquor to an all-time low of 17 percent.

Teens and alcohol have proven to be a serious and often deadly combination, said KSP Commissioner Mark L. Miller. "Kentucky is working hard to reduce this problem," said Miller, who is also the Governor's Highway Safety Representative. "Kentucky was one of only 16 states in the nation to receive recognition for its innovation and perseverance in reducing underage drinking."

Miller also recognized the state's Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) as a major partner in the underage drinking initiatives. "Because of our partnerships with ABC, local law enforcement and other agencies, Kentucky has observed its lowest non-compliance rate among alcohol-licensed establishments," said Miller.

Jim Acquisto, ABC's director of enforcement, said agency collaborations are the key to reducing underage drinking. "We at the Enforcement Division of ABC are vigilant in monitoring underage accessibility to alcohol in Kentucky. By partnering with agencies like the Kentucky State Police, we will continue to impact underage drinking in Kentucky, and make the Commonwealth a safer place," said Acquisto.

The noncompliance rate decreased from 26 percent in 1998 to 17 percent in 2004. The rate averaged 17 percent from January through August of this year. This state's noncompliance rate decrease illustrates that reductions in youth access are possible through a coordinated, comprehensive approach, said Lt. Eric Walker, commander of the GHSP.

"We are very pleased to have brought home this national award," said Walker. "This just goes to prove that through enforcement and education programs such as these and by partnering on a local, state and national level, we can and do make a difference."

Funding for the underage drinking programs comes from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Underage Drinking, a federal block grant program. It's administered through the GHSP to the ABC as well as other agencies. Those include: Bluegrass Regional Prevention Center, Kentucky Crime Prevention Center, KSP, MADD Kentucky, Morehead State University, Brescia University, Centre College, Eastern Kentucky University, Murray State University, St. Catharine College, St. Thomas More College and the University of Kentucky.

Underage Drinking Statistics

  • In Kentucky, the legal age for purchasing alcohol is 21 years of age.
  • In Kentucky, underage drinking directly costs citizens approximately $217 million per year in medical care and work loss.
  • In Kentucky during 2004, there were 931 alcohol-related collisions involving a driver under the age of 21.
  • In Kentucky from January through August 2005, there have been 581 alcohol-related collisions involving a driver under the age of 21.
  • On a national level, approximately 28 percent of the suicides of 9-15 year olds can be attributed directly to or are related to alcohol use.
  • Nationally, alcohol is involved in a national average of 1,000 homicides per year.
  • Nationally, more than 70,000 students ages 18-24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
  • Nationally, adolescents who had their first drink before the age of 13 were twice as likely to have unplanned and unprotected sex, pregnancies and contract sexually transmitted diseases and HIV

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