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Not the usual suspects: Law enforcement, public health and alcohol vendors join forces to change the underage drinking environment statewide

Rebecca H. Reeve, PhD, CHES1, Susan Auger, MSW2, Jacob Lohr, MD3, and Anthony McLeod, BS1. (1) Child and Family Programs, Governor's Institute on Alcohol and Substance Abuse, Inc., 200 Park Office Drive Drive, Suite 200, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, 919-990-9559, rhreeve@mindspring.com, (2) Auger Communications, PO Box 51392, Durham, NC 27717, (3) Executive Director, Governor's Institute on Alcohol and Substance Abuse, 200 Park Office Dr, Research Triangle Park, NC 27704

When the Institute of Medicine released, “Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility,” in September 2003, the North Carolina RASS (Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service) coalition had already been in existence for five years. The report focused on five elements, easy access, alcohol from adults in commercial/ social outlets, youth advertising exposure, prominence in entertainment and cheap cost. Ten essential components for a comprehensive approach to underage drinking were described. NC-RASS, the only existing statewide partnership of its kind actively working statewide to address underage drinking, has conducted efforts in eight of the ten areas. We will lay out how taking the risk to develop a vision, mission, plan and shared sense of community can bring law enforcement, sales and health interests to business NOT as usual. NC-RASS successes include passage of S. B. 833 creating penalties to further restrict underage access and aid enforcement by officers and retailers; G.S. 18B-302 creating stronger penalties and reinforces shared responsibility for youth alcohol access to reduce selling/giving or aiding/abetting; G.S. 18B-302 charging 19- and 20-year-olds with a Class III misdemeanor when convicted of possession; and the Stoplight drivers license. 71% of alcohol youth consume is provided by adults, yet only 8% is purchased by youth in stores. 81% of adults believe that alcohol vendors are not careful enough to keep alcohol from youth. Vendors are part of the alcohol & policy environment. They cannot take all the blame, and cannot be left out of the solution to underage drinking.

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

Keywords: Alcohol, Public Health Advocacy

Related Web page: www.wecheckid.com

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
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.

Alcohol and Tobacco: Public Education and Media Advocacy

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA