Washington, DC —  The Michigan Liquor Control Commission and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, are partnering to bring a life-saving lesson about the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking to students at various high schools throughout the state of Michigan during the first week of May. In advance of graduation season, Brandon Silveria, a young man who was involved in an alcohol-related crash at age 17 just before his high school prom, and his father Tony will speak to students about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol — and that if students are under the age of 21, the only responsible decision is not to drink.

“We must all do more to save lives in our area,” said Nida Samona, Chair of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. “Last year (2003) 481 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes in Michigan, including 81 alcohol-related deaths among those under the age of 21. One death is one too many. We must do more to keep the teens of Michigan safe and alcohol-free. I am so proud to have Brandon and Tony Silveria with us this week to communicate their life-saving message to young drivers in the state.”

“The good news is that over the past 20 years, the number of underage drinkers has decreased. For example, underage drinking among high school seniors has declined 29% proportionally from 70% in 1982 to 50% in 2001, according to government surveys. I’m pleased The Michigan Liquor Control Commission invited us to give our presentations,” said Pam Beer of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. “During our visits, we hope to raise awareness about this serious problem, and by doing so, save lives in Michigan.”

During his presentations, Brandon Silveria will tell students his wrenching story of how as a high school student he had everything a teenager could want — a job, a girlfriend and plans for the future — until he had a few drinks at a party and chose to drive home. After falling asleep at the wheel, crossing the centerline and crashing into a tree, he was left in a coma for three months and spent several years in rehabilitation. Brandon was so badly injured that basic motor functions such as walking, talking and swallowing had to be re-learned. He has permanent brain injury
and suffers from dangerous seizures. Brandon’s presentations continue to receive standing ovations from students across the country.

“What you become depends on the choices that you make,” said Brandon Silveria. “When I was seventeen, I had a job and a girlfriend. Because of my crash, I lost both of them. My hope is that by sharing my experiences with other young people, I can prevent others from being hurt or killed.”

Through educational efforts such as the Silveria lecture and video program, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility educates students across the country about the hazards of underage drinking and driving. Since Brandon and his father have become spokespeople for The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, they have addressed well over one million high school students nationwide and have been featured on such television programs as “Rescue 911,” NBC’s “Today,” and “Leeza.”

To request a free copy of “Brandon Tells His Story” or for more information on the Silveria program call (800) 431-4499. The 30-minute video, which won an award from the American Medical Association, is accompanied by supporting curriculum materials and can be used with large or small groups of teens.

Brandon and Tony Silveria will speak to the following schools this week:

Monday, May 2
• 9:00 a.m.
Martin Luther King High School
3200 East Lafayette
Detroit, MI 48207

• 2:00 p.m.
Academy of the Sacred Heart
1250 Kensington Road
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

Tuesday, May 3
• 10:00 a.m.
Central High School
601 Crapo Street
Flint, MI 48503

• 1:30 p.m.
Everett High School
3900 Stabler Street
Lansing, MI 48910

Wednesday, May 4
• 10:00 a.m.
Holland Christian School
950 Ottawa Avenue
Holland, MI 49424

• 12:20 p.m.
Grand Rapids City High School
111 College N.E.
Grand Rapid, MI 49503

Thursday, May 5
• 9:00 a.m.
Kalkaska High School
109 North Birch Street
Kalkaska, MI 49646

• 1:00 p.m.
Traverse City Central High School
1150 Milliken Drive
Traverse City, MI 49686

Friday, May 6
• 9:30 a.m.
DeTour High School
202 South Division Street
DeTour, MI 49725

• 12:30 p.m.
Rudyard High School
11185 West 2nd Street
Rudyard, MI 49780

Launched in 1991, The Century Council is funded by America's leading distillers. The Foundation's mission is to promote responsible decision-making regarding beverage alcohol and discourage all forms of irresponsible consumption through education, communications, research, law enforcement and other programs. For more information on the Foundation, log onto
CONTACT: Lindsay Law
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
via email