May
10
2005

Trenton, NJ —  Attorney General Peter C. Harvey, the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control and The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, partnered today to bring a life-saving lesson about the dangers of drunk driving and underage drinking to students at West Windsor Plainsboro High School South and West Windsor Plainsboro High School North. In advance of prom and graduation season, Brandon Silveria and his father Tony spoke to students about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol — and if students are under the age of 21, that the only responsible decision is not to drink. Brandon is a young man who was involved in an alcohol-related crash at age 17 just before his high school prom.

“We must keep delivering this message to young people about the terrible risks of underage drinking,” said Attorney General Peter C. Harvey. “We hope that Brandon's program, which graphically shares the very real and dangerous consequences of underage drinking and driving, will help prevent a tragedy during this prom and graduation season. Our goal is to save young people from serious bodily injury and death.”

“Many young people today believe that they are invincible, and that they will not suffer any harm from underage drinking and driving,” New Jersey Division of Alcoholic
Beverage Control Director Jerry Fischer said. “Through Brandon's story, they can see that this simply is not true, and that there is a very high price to pay for using alcohol under the legal age. This program today should give young people pause if they are thinking about attempting to use alcohol during the upcoming prom and graduation season.”

“I’m pleased Attorney General Harvey invited us to give a presentation today,” said Jay Hibbard of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. “During our visit, we hope to raise awareness about this serious problem, and by doing so, save lives in New Jersey.”

During the presentation, Brandon Silveria told 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. “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 Tony have become spokespeople for The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, they have addressed well over two 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.

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 www.responsibility.org
Contact: 
CONTACT: Lindsay Law
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility
202-425-5423
via email