UNCW, state and local leaders meet to discuss underage drinking concerns

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — A new effort to reduce underage drinking was introduced today at UNCW.

NC ABC Chair Jim Gardner and New Hanover County District Attorney Ben David announced a partnership that creates a diversion program.

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The program will allow for deferred prosecution of underage offenders charged with drinking offenses who instead take part in education programs.

“Several hours with professionals, two at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in the Emergency Department on a Friday night with doctors, nurses, seeing on the frontline the effects of drinking and driving and alcohol use,” David said of the program.

They will also have to attend a four-hour alcohol education course.

This program is for one-time offenders and those who are under 21.

The New Hanover County Diversion Program is one of four pilot programs in the state, with the others taking place in Pitt, Forsyth and Watauga Counties. These programs will work in conjunction with the North Carolina Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking