3396.0 The erosion of state regulation of alcohol: The threat to public health and safety

Monday, November 9, 2009: 4:30 PM
After Prohibition, the 21st Amendment was designed to give state governments the authority to control alcohol within their borders as they saw fit. Not wanting to return to the negative social conditions that led to Prohibition, each state enacted various forms of regulation, including (in most states) the “three-tier system,” which prohibits producers from selling alcohol directly to retailers or consumers. Since that time, and increasingly in recent years, a variety of market forces and political influences have conspired to strip away at many such regulations. Lawsuits challenging state regulations are gaining momentum, as are legislative efforts. This trend poses a serious threat to public health and safety because many regulatory controls have been scientifically demonstrated to minimize the harm due caused by alcohol. This panel will describe both the legal and scientific basis for state regulation of alcohol, explain how regulatory controls are under attack, and offer resources for how advocates can fight back. Experts from the fields of law, science, advocacy, and industry will discuss the problem and potential solutions.
Session Objectives: 1) Explain how the 21st Amendment authorizes states to regulate alcohol in the name of public safety, and how over the decades since Prohibition, such regulation has eroded. 2) Describe how producers and big-box retailers and are threatening the critical 3-tier system of alcohol distribution through lawsuits and an aggressive legislative agenda. 3) Demonstrate the scientific basis for state regulation and the corresponding negative impact on public health and safety when regulatory safeguards are diminished. 4) Explain how advocates can effectively counter such de-regulatory efforts and restore the states’ constitutionally-sanctioned authority to properly regulate alcohol.
Michele Simon, JD, MPH
Michele Simon, JD, MPH

4:48 PM
5:42 PM

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs
Endorsed by: Social Work

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)