The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5147.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - Table 4

Abstract #43720

Reducing underage drinking through the enforcement of alcohol laws

Rebecca L. Ramirez, MPH and James C. Fell, MS. Traffic Safety and Enforcement Programs, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 11710 Beltsville Drive, Suite 300, Calverton, MD 20705, 301-755-2761,

Most states in the United States have established an agency specifically charged with the enforcement of alcohol laws. In 1988 members from many of these agencies created the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA). The mission of NLLEA is to improve the standards and practices of liquor law enforcement, accomplished in part by documenting and evaluating the role of liquor law enforcement in protecting public health. In 2000, the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation (PIRE) developed a partnership with the NLLEA to assist them in their mission. Through funding from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), PIRE is working with the NLLEA to develop a database of alcohol laws that pertain to underage drinking and service to obviously intoxicated individuals. This database, created through legal research and interviews with enforcement officials in every state, provides information to analyze differences in alcohol laws and their respective penalties. Data from sanctions “on the books” vs. sanctions actually imposed will be documented. For example, early interview results have revealed that while states may set maximum fine limits for violating underage drinking laws, these set maximums vary greatly from state to state, and the maximum fines are rarely imposed. Hence, many law enforcement officials believe that the fines imposed are not severe enough to serve as a deterrent for future sales and service of alcohol to minors. This session will provide the preliminary analyses of these laws and will provide specific information regarding effective enforcement strategies for reducing underage drinking.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant will be able to

Keywords: Alcohol, Policy/Policy Development

Related Web page:

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: National Liquor Law Enforcement Association
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Combatting Illegal Drinking: Community Views and Actions

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA