WASHINGTON – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The Department of Jus…

WASHINGTON – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – The Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs (OJP) today announced awards of more than $20 million to 50 states and the District of Columbia to enforce state and local underage drinking laws. The awards are made through the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws program, which supports activities in law enforcement, public education programs, and innovative methods for reaching youth.

“We must do everything within our power to support families, schools and communities with their efforts to prevent underage drinking and the serious consequences that can follow,” said Regina B. Schofield, Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs. “These awards fund initiatives to limit youth access to alcohol, strictly enforce underage drinking laws and promote zero tolerance for underage drinking while creating positive outlets for our youth.”

Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) is the only federal initiative directed exclusively toward preventing underage drinking. The program is a $25 million initiative consisting of block grants to each state and the District of Columbia, and discretionary awards to selected states to fund best and most promising activities at the local level. Each state and the District of Columbia received a $350,000 block grant award.

Additionally, California, Oregon and Washington each received more than $1 million in discretionary awards to assist with enforcement of laws that regulate the access, possession, and consumption of alcohol by minors in rural communities through EUDL’s Rural Initiative.

The EUDL Rural Initiative organizes local communities, law enforcement agencies, juvenile departments and judges to focus on issues that negatively create a climate of acceptance for alcohol use among youth, including: community norms that attribute youthful drinking as a rite of passage; easy availability of alcohol to youth; and alcohol consumption on or near school sites. An important aspect of the initiative includes creating media outreach programs that provide clear and precise messages about the dangers of binge drinking, driving after drinking, and a zero tolerance policy for youthful offenders, including underage drinking party enforcement.

“Underage drinking affects every segment of our society and is a community responsibility,” said Robert Flores, Administrator of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. “The seamless coordination between law enforcement and community coalitions remains the foundation of successful enforcement of underage drinking laws, which affect community safety and protect the well-being of our youth.”

The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), through the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center, is hosting its 6th annual national leadership conference in Tucson, Ariz., Aug. 18 – 20. OJJDP Administrator Robert Flores is representing OJP at this year’s conference, which will host more than 900 law enforcement, community members, youth advocates and prevention advocates and focus on successful work between law enforcement agencies and community coalitions to reduce youth access to alcohol.

The Office of Justice Programs provides federal leadership in developing the nation’s capacity to prevent and control crime, administer justice, and assist victims. OJP is headed by an Assistant Attorney General and comprises five component bureaus and two offices: the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Bureau of Justice Statistics; the National Institute of Justice; the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; and Office for Victims of Crime, as well as the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education and the Community Capacity Development Office, which incorporates the Weed and Seed strategy and OJP’s American Indian and Alaska Native Affairs Desk. More information can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov .

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