ABC, California Office of Traffic Safety, UC Berkeley and an Author Team Up to Educate Youth about the Dangers of Underage Drinking through Classroom Sessions
Sacramento – In the effort to keep youth safe and prevent alcohol-related tragedies, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), Author Andre’ Lewis and the Vallejo Unified School District are trying a different way than street or community police patrols to educate youth about the dangers when teens drink alcohol.
Through a pilot program and partnership involving the University of California, Berkeley, ABC, OTS, and Author Andre’ Lewis, there are some California elementary and middle schoolers learning in their own classrooms about the potential dire consequences of underage drinking. On Friday, May 31 ABC Supervising Agent Brandon Shotwell and Author Andre’ Lewis read the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Youth Educational Book to 7th graders at Hogan Middle School in Vallejo.
The book describes in detail a fictitious ABC Target Responsibility for Alcohol Connected Emergencies (TRACE) case involving the death of a young person who was involved in an alcohol-related crash. The TRACE program involves in-depth ABC investigations of serious incidents involving minors and alcohol. Those incidents include car crashes, alcohol overdoses, poisonings and assaults that occur after alcohol is consumed by minors. According to the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC) over 4300 young people die each year in the United States because of alcohol-related tragedies. A 2017 federally funded survey called Monitoring the Future http://www.monitoringthefuture.org/ identified that 8% of eighth graders in this country drank alcohol. This pilot program promotes the concept of reaching young students earlier to help prevent underage drinking. The hope is that reading about a tragic case involving underage drinking will trigger those difficult conversations at home with their parents.
ABC and OTS worked with the author to develop and produce the youth book. Author Andre’ Lewis wrote and developed the pictures for the book. The purpose of the book is to inform and talk to sixth and seventh graders about the dangers of drinking and driving. Each student in the classroom will be provided with their own copy of the book to take home and share with their families to nurture healthy discussions about alcohol.
ABC Agents, Supervising Agents and Supervising Agents in Charge have been involved in distributing some of the books. The classroom sessions are designed to have the students read the books and then have a question and answer with the ABC sworn peace officer.
Funding for the Youth Educational Book pilot program and the ABC TRACE program are made possible by grants from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).