Jun
06
2006

Newark, NJ —  Congressman Scott Garrett 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 of Park Ridge High School. In advance of Prom and 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 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.

“June is Prom and Graduation Season, a special time for students. Sadly, as students wrap up their school year and anticipate summer vacation, alcohol is unfortunately sometimes part of the celebration. We must do more to remind students that underage drinking is illegal and dangerous,” said Congressman Garrett. “Brandon Silveria is living proof that one bad decision can change a life forever. I am so grateful that he and his father Tony could be here in New Jersey to relay their life-saving message to students, and I am hopeful their words will make an impact on students in New Jersey.”

“Last year in New Jersey, 344 youths under the age of 18 were arrested for driving under the influence and 2,607 were arrested for liquor law violations (UCR 2004),” said Lindsay Law of The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility. “I’m pleased we were invited to give this presentation today. During our visit, we hope to raise awareness about this serious problem, and by doing so, save lives in New Jersey.”

During his presentation, Brandon 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, he 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, a car and a girlfriend. I had the world at my fingertips, and that all changed because of a stupid choice I made. 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.”

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 have appeared and will also appear at the following high schools throughout the week:

June 5, 2006 – Northern Valley Regional High School (Old Tappan), - 9:30 a.m.
June 5, 2006 – Northern Valley Regional High School (Demarest), - 1:30 p.m.
June 6, 2006 – Park Ridge High School - 8:45 a.m. **w/ Congressman Garrett**
June 6, 2006 – Westwood High School, - 2:00 p.m.
June 7, 2006 – Pascack Valley High School, - 8:00 a.m. ** w/ Senator Cardinale **
June 7, 2006 – New Milford High School, - 1:15 p.m.
June 8, 2006 – Hasbrouk Heights High School, - 9:45 a.m.
June 8, 2006 – Teaneck High School, - 1:30 p.m. **w/ Assemblyman Johnson**
June 9, 2006 – Wood Ridge High School, - 1:00 p.m.

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