New Hampshire Initiative Addresses Underage Drinking

New Hampshire is developing a comprehensive plan aimed at reducing underage drinking, the Manchester Union Leader reported June 6.

The plan calls for new enforcement efforts, public-awareness campaigns, a party-host law, and a statewide strategy group to curb underage drinking.

New Hampshire officials said the effort is needed because underage drinking is costing the state more than $200 million a year in crashes, injuries, property crime, violence, and alcohol treatment.

State officials estimate that in 2001, underage drinkers consumed 17.5 percent of all alcohol sold in the state.

This summer, the state’s Bureau of Enforcement will conduct a “Buyer Beware” campaign that informs adults of the criminal penalties they face for providing alcohol to anyone under 21 or hosting an underage drinking party.

Also this summer, police departments plan to enhance compliance checks and enforcement.

Clark Corson, a lobbyist for the New Hampshire Wholesale Beverage Association, said parents play a key role in stopping underage drinking.

“People have got to stop, they’ve got to take the blinders off and begin to address this problem verbally with their own children, as catalysts to influence other children,” he said. “And if we can reverse the peer pressure to the advantage of safety and responsible consumption, we will have accomplished a great beginning.”