LANSING (WWJ) – The state is issuing a warning to college students who supply their younger peers with alcohol: Don’t even think about it.
Starting Wednesday, law enforcement across Michigan will be participating in the “21 To Buy – Not Supply” underage drinking crackdown.
“Supplying alcohol to underage drinkers just doesn’t make any sense for anyone,” Secretary of State Ruth Johnson told WWJ’s Beth Fisher. “If people do it, they will pay a price for it. There are legal consequences to this kind of behavior. I know there’s a big temptation especially with the parties and the tailgates — but national statistics show that more than a third of our young adults from 18 to 25 are binge alcohol abusers and one in 10 are heavy alcohol users.”
Johnson said young adults need to realize they can face tough penalties beyond legal ramifications.
“In Michigan the penalty for providing alcohol to a minor can be not just $1,000 in fines the first time and up to 90 days in jail, but over $5,000 in legal bills and then the broader consequences could include lost wages, forfeited scholarships and even expulsion from college,” she said.
If the minor gets into a crash where someone is injured or killed, the person who provided them with the alcohol can also be held liable.
“Our rate of alcohol related traffic crashes for 16-20 is just alarming,” said Johnson. “It’s increased by 30 percent from 2014 to 2015 alone, and then of course the fatalities come right along with that.”
And it goes beyond the roads, too. “You really are putting people at risk, not just other people on the road and even if somebody’s not driving — you see quite an increase in unwanted pregnancies, sexual assault, suicide, vandalism, public disorder crimes — it really does cause a lot of problems,” said Johnson.
Local, county and state law enforcement agencies are all participating in the crackdown.