Tuesday, May 1, 2007

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Attorney General Abbott Urges Teens to Stay Alcohol-Free During Prom / Graduation Season

AUSTIN – Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today encouraged young Texans to “Make the Right Choice” and stay alcohol-free during the upcoming prom and graduation season.

During a visit to Crockett High School, General Abbott, along with activists Brandon and Tony Silveria, warned students about the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking. At the age of 17, Brandon Silveria was severely disabled in an alcohol-related automobile crash. Brandon’s father, Tony, encouraged students and parents to engage in frank, open discussions about the risks of underage drinking.

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View Video of News Conference

“With young Texans all across the state gathering for prom and graduation celebrations, parents and educators must keep them safe and alcohol-free,” Attorney General Abbott said. “Though each May is filled with time-honored celebrations, it is far too often marked by tragedy. Thanks to Brandon and Tony Silveria, we are able to share an important, life-saving message with high school students.”

Brandon Silveria shared his own compelling story with Crockett students. Just days before his high school prom, Brandon drove home after consuming alcohol at a party and was nearly killed in a car crash. He spent three months in a coma and several years in rehabilitation. Today, he still suffers from a permanent brain injury and walking disabilities.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ranks alcohol as the leading drug problem among the nation’s youth, killing more young people than all drugs combined. In 2006, four out of 10 high school seniors participating in a University of Michigan study reported drinking alcohol in the past month. According federal statistics, Texas remains one of the deadliest states in the nation when it comes to alcohol-related traffic fatalities.

Brandon and Tony Silveria’s presentation was conducted in partnership with the Century Council, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to minimizing drunk driving and underage drinking.

“In Texas in 2005, the FBI reported that 1,211 youths under age 18 were arrested for driving under the influence; 5,137 youths were arrested for liquor law violations; and 3,350 youths were arrested for drunkenness,” said Ralph Blackman, President and CEO of The Century Council. “Our goal with this presentation is to raise awareness about this serious problem and help our youth to make the right choice about alcohol. I’m pleased we were invited to Crockett High School today, and I am hopeful that Brandon and Tony’s words will resonate with the students.”

For more information on The Century Council, visit www.centurycouncil.org.