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KSP Highway Safety Branch News Release

First Lady Jane Beshear Joins Kentucky's Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Program

Date of News Release: 04/03/08

(FRANKFORT, Ky.) - First Lady Jane Beshear will partner with Kentucky State Police to serve as spokesperson for the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) program.

KSP is the administrator of a federal grant provided by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) that is designed to enforce underage drinking laws in Kentucky.

Last year, there were 3,108 Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charges for defendants ages sixteen through nineteen in the Commonwealth.

The National institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that over 5,000 young people die under the age of twenty-one as a result of underage drinking.

KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer oversees the Kentucky EUDL program and invited Mrs. Beshear to serve as spokesperson.

"Kentucky youth are at risk in our high schools and on college campuses from the dangers of underage drinking. Mrs. Beshear has accepted an invitation to serve as spokesperson because she has a sincere interest in Kentucky's youth and will lend her voice to a very worthy program," said Brewer.

Mrs. Beshear will record underage drinking public service announcements that will begin airing on radio later this month. In addition to the PSA's, the first lady will also participate in public events advocating the prevention of underage drinking as her schedule permits.

"Teenagers face pressure in every aspect of their lives - from which friends to choose to whether or not to drink alcohol. As adults, we have a responsibility to help them make the right choices, and enforce the law when they don't. That is why I am happy to be a part of this program, because nothing is more important than protecting Kentucky's most valuable resource - our children," said Mrs. Beshear.

Recently, Mrs. Beshear joined 'Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free' which is a unique coalition of Governor's spouses that advocates efforts for the prevention of alcohol use by children ages nine to fifteen.

Each year, KSP receives $350,000 in funding that is awarded to organizations with programs that target underage drinking enforcement and prevention.

Grantees who received 2007 federal funding included: Mothers Against Drug Driving; Kentucky Network Coalition of College Campuses; Bluegrass Regional Prevention Center; Kentucky Alcohol Beverage Control, Louisville Metro Police Department, Radcliff Police Department and River Valley Regional Health Prevention Center.

The Bluegrass Regional Prevention Center in Lexington received EUDL funding for their underage drinking prevention program called 'Keep It Real'. The 'Keep It Real' program enlists youth across central Kentucky to create thirty-second video public service announcements about the dangers of underage drinking. The program utilizes a competition style format with an interactive video website that appeals to youth.

Donna Wiesenhahn is the director for the Bluegrass Regional Prevention Center and Project Coordinator for the "Keep It Real" program.

"The EUDL grant has enabled Bluegrass Regional to develop a campaign that addresses the prevention of underage drinking. These funds have facilitated the involvement of over five-hundred youth creating videos targeting underage drinking, that thousands of viewers have seen on local and cable television," said Wiesenhahn.

"These funds made a dream become a reality and have definitely impacted the community and the lives of youth," added Wiesenhahn.

The United States Congress appropriates twenty-five million dollars annually to OJJDP for the Enforcing Underage Drinking program. These funds are disseminated to individual states in the form of block grants.

For more information about Kentucky's Underage Drinking Prevention Programs, please visit the KSP website at kentuckystatepolice.org.

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