College is a time of transition for youth to express more independence, and while some opportunities promote positive growth, others such as underage and binge drinking are dangerous not only to students’ health and safety, but also to the surrounding community.
Operation Safe Graduation is a countywide effort to prevent underage drinking and alcohol-related deaths and injuries by reminding the public that the drinking age is 21 and adults can be penalized for providing alcohol and marijuana or even a venue to allow underage youth to drink alcohol.
At a press conference today highlighting Operation Safe Graduation, San Diego County Office of Education Project Specialist Sal Garcia will note the ease with which incoming college students can picture themselves in a fraternity or sorority, or cheering on their school’s team at a big game with all their friends.
"It is harder, on the other hand, for them to see themselves sitting in a jail or emergency room due to alcohol, yet that is a possibility if they allow alcohol to control their college experience," Garica says.
Other speakers at the press conference will include Austin Villa-Miranda, a student at West Hills High School in Santee, and Isabelle Velloz, a student at UC San Diego. Together, they will address their peers about the harms that alcohol and other drugs pose to underage youth.
Operation Safe Graduation also serves as a reminder to the public about social host ordinances – regulation that holds adults accountable who not only supply the alcohol or other drugs, but also provide the venue where underage youth consume the products. Adults who are in violation of a social host ordinance can be arrested, fined up to $1,000, jailed up to six months and liable for any fees associated with the police or emergency response.