Underage Drinking: Success Stories



Drinking: Success Stories



New Hampshire – August 27, 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.


Leadership Wins Tougher Penalties in New Hampshire

In Concord, New Hampshire, leaders in the community sought and won

increased penalties for sales to minors.

In 2001, the Concord City Council convened an ad hoc group to study

underage drinking. This group was comprised of representatives from the

courts, the faith community, schools, businesses, law enforcement

officers, and parents. After a process that included public hearings, the

ad hoc group wrote a report with two main recommendations: (1) Concord

should create a position in city government to manage programs and

activities for youth and (2) Concord should change its regulatory policies

towards underage drinking.

One of the problems noted by the group was the lack of penalties for

outlets that failed compliance checks. Clerks who sold to minors usually

faced criminal charges, but management got by with only minimal penalties.

One store??the poster child for bad business,? says Concord?s Chief of

Police Jerome Madden?failed five straight compliance checks. That the

store failed so many times is particularly galling to Madden.

Chief Madden, along with Judge Michael Sullivan and Mayor Donovan, asked

the State Liquor Commission for a meeting to air their concerns about the

laxity of penalties for sales to minors. To their surprise, the Commission

asked the three representatives to recommend new penalty guidelines.

The Chief, Judge, and Mayor all agreed that license suspension must happen

on the first offense. The three also agreed that a fine should be part of

the equation. Ultimately, they won the Commission?s approval for the

following penalties:

-First offense: 3-day suspension and $250 fine.

-Second offense within 3 years: 5-day suspension and $500 fine.

-Third offense: 10-day suspension and $750 fine.

-Fourth offense: 30-day suspension and $1,000 fine.

-Fifth offense: revocation for the balance of the licensing year, or at least 6 months.

The Commission adopted these penalties for the city of Concord on trial

basis for one year beginning in August 2002. Looking back on their first

year, Judge Sullivan said ?community support has been wonderful.? More

importantly, the new policies have raised awareness of law enforcement

efforts to reduce underage drinking. Now, says Chief Madden, ?the

community is well aware of how we look at these things.?

With the successful trial period over, the Commission will re-assess the

structure of sanctions and judiciously recommend change where it deems

appropriate. Underage drinking is of great concern in Concord and

community leaders will continue to work on strategies to limit the access

of alcohol to underage youth.

For more information, contact

Chief Aidan Moore of the New Hampshire Liquor

Commission at 603-271-3930 or

[email protected]




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Underage Drinking: Success Stories
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