Columbus, OH — Attorney General Jim Petro, The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility, a national not-for-profit organization funded by distillers dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, and the Ohio Division of Liquor Control brought a life-saving lesson to students at Gahanna Lincoln High School today. 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, spoke to students about the importance of “making the right choice” about alcohol — and if students are under the age of 21 — the only responsible decision is not to drink. “There were 492 alcohol-related traffic fatalities last year in Ohio, and 96 of these deaths involved youths under 21 (NHTSA 2004). One death is one too many,” said Attorney General Jim Petro. “We must do more to educate everyone on the dangers of underage drinking. I am so proud to have Brandon and Tony Silveria with us to tell their heart-breaking story about the horrible consequences of having a few drinks before driving.” ”Among youth under age eighteen, 257 were arrested for driving under the influence and 2,651 were arrested for liquor law violations in Ohio last year (UCR 2004),” said Pam Beer of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. “I’m pleased we were invited to give a presentation today. During our visit, we hope to raise awareness about this serious problem, and by doing so, save lives in Ohio.” During the program, Silveria told students his wrenching story of how as a high school student he had everything a teenager could want — a job, 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, Brandon was left in a coma for three months and spent several years in rehabilitation. Silveria 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 Tony 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.” J.D. Weitz of the Ohio Division of Liquor Control added, “As the Assistant Supervisor of Investigative Services for the DOLC, it is my duty to do my part to educate our community about the dangers of underage drinking. The Brandon Silveria lecture program is excellent in that students walk into the auditorium, assuming their hour will be spent like any other assembly. It is amazing to see the students take in every word Brandon says; you can hear a pin drop when Brandon is at the podium. He is an amazing young man, and I am glad our organizations have partnered to bring his story to the greater Columbus area.” 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 Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility 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
Lindsay Law
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility