Alcohol Enforcement Team awards banquet scheduled for Thursday

PICKENS β€” The annual Alcohol Enforcement Team awards banquet will be held on Thursday, Sept. 12, at 11:30 am. The event will be held at First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall, 406 East Main St, Pickens.

For the past six years, Greenville and Pickens Counties have jointly created Alcohol Enforcement Teams throughout the 13th judicial circuit to prevent the negative effects of underage alcohol use in the upstate. Law enforcement agencies from both counties are being recognized for their efforts to reduce youth access to alcohol.

Still, underage drinking is widespread in South Carolina and contributes to more teen deaths than any other cause. Approximately 186,000 underage youth in South Carolina drink each year. In 2005, according to self-reports by South Carolina students in grades 9-12:

71 percent had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more days during their life.

26 percent had their first drink of alcohol, other than a few sips, before age 13.

40 percent had at least one drink of alcohol on one or more occasion in the past 30 days.

36 percent had five or more drinks of alcohol in a row (i.e. binge drinking) in the past 30 days.

56 percent of youth stated that alcohol was their most commonly used substance in the past 30 days

Liquor is now one of the most popular drinks among high school students.

An estimated 85 South Carolinians under 21 die each year from alcohol use.

Underage drinking costs South Carolina $1 billion per year β€” $2,309 for each young person in our state.

“Underage drinking is not a youth problem, it’s a community problem” said Cathy Breazeale, Director of Prevention Services at Behavioral Health Services of Pickens County. “Greenville and Pickens County law enforcement agencies have become state and national leaders in enforcing underage drinking laws, “We believe law enforcement and community partnerships are the key to changing the culture of underage drinking.”