Underage Drinking: Success Stories

         

Underage

Drinking: Success Stories

 

 

Arkansas – September 1, 2003

 

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With support from the OJJDP

Enforcing the Underage Drinking Laws Initiative, community organizations, enforcement agencies, youth, and other concerned citizens are working collaboratively to

change local ordinances and enforcement practices.

 

Arkansas Enforcement Gets Rolling

 The Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Enforcement

Division has used grant funds to breathe new life into underage drinking

enforcement, and as a result has seen significant reductions in sales to

minors.

In Arkansas, as in many States, underage drinking enforcement has been

overlooked in the face of other drug problems. In particular, the flood of

methamphetamine production and sales in Arkansas has sapped enforcement

resources that might otherwise be directed towards enforcing underage

drinking laws.

According to Kenny Heroman, Assistant Director of the Enforcement

Division, underage drinking is still a big problem in Arkansas. It was not

until 1999 that efforts to address the problem ?really got rolling,? says

Heroman. With the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) grant, the

division was able to purchase video equipment, vehicles, and pay minor

operatives in compliance checks.

The division began its first round of compliance checks in late 1999,

completing 356 checks. Agents completed 1,046 checks in 2000, 1,286 in

2001, and 1,242 in 2002. With 5,500 licensees in the State, agents are

checking approximately 20% of their outlets every year. Many of the checks

are random, but some are in response to complaints about problem outlets.

Says Heroman, ?If we receive a complaint, we do a compliance check.? In

addition, local law enforcement has now joined forces with ABC through

local EUDL mini-grants to conduct additional checks in 2003. From January

through June 2003, 842 checks have been conducted resulting in a 25.7%

noncompliance rate.

As a result of the checks, the division has seen a significant drop in

noncompliance rates. In the first round of checks conducted in 1999, 46.6%

of outlets sold to minor decoys. The noncompliance rate dropped slightly

to 41.3% in 2000, 35.6% in 2001, and 29.5% in 2002. So far in 2003,

noncompliance rates are running close to half the initial rate in 1999.

The increase in compliance checks can also be

attributed to an institutional policy change on how compliance checks are

tracked. In 2002, the ABC implemented a state- of-the-art database that

allows enforcement agents to enter data onto laptop computers while out in

the field. This has streamlined the tracking process of compliance check

investigations, thus reducing time and resources that were previously

spent on these duties.

 In just a few years, the Alcoholic

Beverage Control Board and its Enforcement Division has made great strides

in enforcing Arkansas?s underage drinking laws. None of this would have

been possible without the EUDL grant. Says Heroman,??bringing awareness to

the problem of underage drinking, I?d give direct credit for that to the

grant.?

 

For more information, contact

Kenny Heroman, Assistant Director of the

Alcoholic Beverage Control Enforcement Division, at

[email protected], or 501-682-8174.

 

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Underage Drinking: Success Stories
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