Senator Thomas P. Morahan, author of a recent law creating a State Advisory Council on Underage Alcohol Consumption, attended the SADD Youth Convention in Rockland County recently at St. Thomas Aquinas College to announce the appointment of Ms. Sharon Hittman, a distinguished community activist from Rockland County who has worked on underage drinking prevention initiatives for over 15 years, to the 'NYS Advisory Council on Underage Alcohol Consumption.' Ms. Hittman, a member of the Rockland County Coalition for Drug Free Schools and Communities, a member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) , and a member of Students Against Destructive Decisions( SADD) received national accolades for creating and distributing 'Alcohol Poisoning Wallet Cards.'
The newly created State Council on Underage Alcohol Consumption* is scheduled to meet in January, 2007, but increasing incidents of underage drinking in the lower Hudson Valley; coupled with the release of statistics on underage drinking from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, prompted the immediate appointment of Hittman to the newly created council. A 2005 HHS national survey shows that 10.8 million persons aged 12 to 20 reported drinking alcohol. Nearly 7.2 million young people were listed as binge drinkers, and 2.3 million young people reported being heavy drinkers.
* New York State Advisory Council on Underage Alcohol Consumption (S.7058, Signed Chapter. 168)
Powers and duties of the council:
1. to receive information with respect to, and to study and analyze, incidents of underage consumption of alcoholic beverages, and to examine the elements of such incidents to identify those factors that are consistently associated with such behavior;
2. to identify and analyze the responses to underage drinking made by governmental officials, including law enforcement officials and prosecutors, and to make recommendations as to whether such responses appear to be achieving decreases in the incidence of such behavior, and if not, whether it appears that a change is required in policies and procedures;
3. to conduct public hearings as may be necessary to carry out its functions under this article;
4. to make recommendations with respect to the following:
(a) educational programs to teach children the dangers of underage
(b) training programs for law enforcement officials and prosecutors to sensitize them to the special nature of youth-related crime and to encourage them to develop appropriate responses;
(c) the appropriateness and effectiveness of existing civil and criminal laws in redressing underage drinking and any changes that should be made in such laws; and
(d) such other matters as may be deemed appropriate by the council after consultation with involved parties;
5. promulgate any necessary rules of order or procedures relating to the administration and performance of the powers and duties of the council pursuant to this article; and
6. to perform all other tasks necessary and convenient to carry out the functions, powers and duties of the council and to effectuate the purposes of this article.
The council shall submit a written report to the governor, the majority leader of the senate and the speaker of the assembly by no later than October first of the year next succeeding the effective date of this article and annually thereafter, setting forth the recommendations and activities of the council on matters within the scope of its powers and duties as set forth in this article.