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DA’s annual “sticker shock” program aims to prevent accidents, deaths of underage drinkers

Updated: Jan 7, 2023

DA David Hoovler, left, holds a poster promoting their 'don't' drink and drive campaign as Tom Kennedy, Dana Distributors' marketing director, looks on

GOSHEN – Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler, law enforcement and Dana Distributors Friday launched their annual effort to prevent underage drinking, and particularly the accidents and deaths caused by, or involving, teenage drivers.

Hoovler said the annual effort has seen a 50 percent decrease in these kinds of accidents since the program began. He added that of the people in a teenager’s life, parents are the ones who can make a difference by “having the talk.” Teens may think that they should be able to party and drink like adults during the holidays, the DA said. “We have all had those times as a youngster, when decision-making processes are still being formed, that we make mistakes. But we don’t want these mistakes to be ones that alter their lives forever.” School presentations and community groups like the Tri-County Prevention Coalition, especially those with people who teens know and trust, also make a huge difference, he said.

The Hoovler team, along with Tom Kennedy, Marketing Manager of Dana Distributors, a beer wholesale, will start spreading these stickers warning of the consequences of drinking and driving, the legal trouble that employees and parents can get into if they allow underage individuals to drink and drive, resources if someone has had one too many and needs help with a ride, as well as manuals that show correct appearing licenses of every state in the union.

Kennedy noted that Dana Distriuters has been in Orange County for 52 years and also covers Rockland and Sullivan counties. “We are a family-owned business and like to promote family values.” They have also instituted two related programs – “Prevent Don’t Provide,” and “Family Values.” Both Dana Distributors and the DA’s office are upgrading signage along major highways to help get the message across. The time between college students coming home for a break, partying through the holidays, and then coming home at the end of a semester is when 60 percent of these accidents occur, officials say. Effective counseling is not just about its dangers, but the alternative of sticking to positive goals that can set the stage for a successful future both personally and professionally can open thoughts of alternative choices, they note.

Hoovler said when adding legalized marijuana use to drinking and driving, that presents a significant issue. Police, he said, are having additional training to help them recognize the differences between someone who has had too much to drink vs. someone whose thought processes are impaired by use of cannabis. The DA questioned why the state legalized adult use of marijuana before law enforcement had the test and tools by which to detect it. “We’re still waiting,” he said.

“Taken on their own, these substances can badly impair you. But it seems that nowadays they’re cocktailing all these things (alcohol, marijuana and fentanyl) together”’ said Brendan Casey, Orange County’s commissioner of Emergency Services. “These compound the dangers of each other. Now police officers are starting to get extensive training in this, but it’s tough when you’re fighting the people who are breaking the law, and fighting Albany as well.”

Brendan Casey speaks to concerns about the coming added complexity of

driving under the influence of marijuana, or both marijuana and alcohol.

Resources if you want to start or join a local prevention group:

m Kennedy, Dana Distributors;

- Kelly Eskew, Orange County Clerk;

- Commissioner Brendan Casey, Orange County Emergency Services;

- John Jones, Orange County STOP-DWI;

- Chief Dominick Blasko, Crawford Police Department;

- Chief James Watt, Village of Goshen Police Department;

- Chief Brian Zaccaro, Washingtonville Police Department;

- Chief Robert Doss, Town of New Windsor Police Department;

- Captain Meredith McGovern, Sheriff’s Office;

- Megan Robbins, Catholic Charities;

- Alayne Eisloeffel, Tri-County Community Partnership, from Pine Bush;

- Stevenson Monchery, Middletown Cares Coalition and Catholic Charities;

- Francesca Bryson, Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition;

- Ashley Nelson, Mid-Hudson Prevention Resource Cente

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