When school leaders or neighborhood residents suspect high school students are getting their hands on drugs or alcohol, sometimes they turn to agents with the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) for help.
Based on such complaints, ABC agents conducted 15 separate operations in January and February, 2013, and cited 42 people, half of them minors. The violations included minors in possession of alcohol, open containers of alcohol or minors in possession of fake ID's .
The 21 adults were cited for furnishing alcoholic beverages to minors, selling alcohol to minors and being drunk in public. Three of the adults were cited for violating their probation or parole requirements.
The 15 operations were paid for through a grant awarded to ABC through the United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
"ABC agents stake out stores, they go to neighborhood parks, they even go to community events where alcohol could easily be furnished to those under 21," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA). CSLEA represents 7,000 law enforcement, public safety and consumer protection professionals who work the for the state of California, including ABC agents. "Recently an ABC agent spent three months, undercover, in a Nevada County high school, at the request of community members, to put a stop to drug activity on and around the campus."
Keeping alcohol from the under-21 set is a serious task that saves lives. Drivers who are under-21 and DUI are involved in fatal crashes at twice the rate of drivers who are 21 or over.
Alcohol is often a factor in injuries, homicides, suicides and car crashes - the four leading causes of death of 15-to-20 year olds.