Letters to the Editor

Drinking alcohol dangerous to minors


The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is an active partner with the University of California in addressing the problems of alcohol abuse that threaten the health and safety of its students. Therefore, as director of ABC, I was surprised to see an article in the Oct. 18 edition of the Guardian (“Spirits rise for Halloween”) that I believe encourages irresponsible alcohol consumption and undermines our efforts with the university to reduce the harm associated with underage and excessive drinking.

So, in the spirit of fair and balanced journalism, I am urging your students to consider:

— 160 Californians under the age of 21 died in alcohol-related crashes during 2002. These tragedies can be avoided if people are sober and responsible.

— On an average day in the United States, four college students die in traffic collisions involving alcohol.

— There is strong evidence linking binge drinking to violent behaviors such as criminal and sexual assaults, including rape.

— The penalty for persons under the age of 21 who are in possession of alcohol is a minimum $250 fine and/or 24 to 32 hours of community service.

— The penalty for furnishing alcohol to a minor is a minimum $1,000 fine and 24 hours of community service.

— It is against the law to drink and drive. If you are a minor and are found driving a vehicle with alcohol in an open container or have a blood alcohol level higher than 0.01 you will be arrested and your driver’s license will be suspended or revoked.

We see you, our college students, as our future leaders; help us build safer and stronger communities in California.

— Jerry Jolly

Director, Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control