Underage Drinking: Success Stories



Drinking: Success Stories




– August 13, 2003



of Problem










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.


Area Governments Amend Local Ordinances to Include Mandatory

Responsible Alcohol Sales and Service Workshop for Licensees

As a result of a collaborative effort, Cobb County government

officials amended their local ordinance in July 2001, mandating licensee

participation in Responsible Alcohol Sales & Service Workshops as part of

their alcohol license application process. Government officials in the

cities of Kennesaw and Powder Springs approved similar changes to their

alcohol ordinances in October 2002.

Bringing a variety of organizations together to collaborate and find ways

for a community to share in the responsibility for enforcing underage

drinking laws has payoffs for everyone. Concerned parent and youth groups,

numerous public and private agencies, responsible alcohol retailers, civic

organizations, law enforcement agencies, and government all benefit

through partnership in the Cobb Underage Drinking Task Force.

The merchant education subcommittee of the task force convened

representatives from business license offices, law enforcement, public

health, merchants, and staff training providers to research, develop, and

test a Policy Workshop for Alcohol Licensees that would provide benefits

to everyone involved. Interest in this particular local policy change grew

after Responsible Alcohol Sale and Service [RASS] Policy Workshops were

conducted with 78 local alcohol licensees.

Workshop participants learned about their legal obligations and

liabilities. They also learned how to reduce their businesses? risk and

liability by developing a comprehensive alcohol compliance program with

three important components;

1) written policies, 2) effective staff training, and 3) monitoring or

supervision of employees. The workshop helped them establish, teach, and

maintain high standards for responsible retail alcohol sales.

This initial group of workshop participants became strong supporters as

they realized the benefits of reduced risk and liability upon implementing

recommended business best practices. However, gaining voluntary business

participation beyond the initial workshop group of 78 challenged the


The committee prepared a presentation and met with area elected officials

to solicit their help in instituting mandatory RASS Policy Workshop

policies/ordinances for local alcohol licensees. Information about current

local business compliance rates, testimony from law enforcement and

responsible retailers, and proof of significant community support for the

recommendation, contributed to these policy successes.

Ultimately, this policy change was an easy one as it included benefits for

all and helped share the responsibility for enforcing underage drinking

laws. Almost 600 people have attended a workshop. Overall taskforce

efforts have increased business compliance rates by 45 percent.


For more information, contact

Cathy Finck, Community Coordinator- Cobb

Underage Drinking Taskforce @ 404-223-9812; Michele Stumpe, Attorney ?

Evindi, Inc. @ 770-988-9970; or Joel Hardy, Project Director ? GA Alcohol

Policy Partnership @ (770)239-7442.



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Underage Drinking: Success Stories
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