Underage Drinking: Success Stories



Drinking: Success Stories



Raleigh, North Carolina  –  August

6, 2001



of Problem











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.



Raleigh, NC

activists pass bill limiting alcohol sales in Urban Redevelopment Areas


activists in Raleigh, North Carolina have successfully persuaded their

General Assembly to pass legislation limiting alcohol sales in economically

disadvantaged areas.? The bill prohibits

alcohol sales from exceeding 50% of total sales for retail outlets in Urban

Redevelopment Areas.? Passage of the bill

represents a major victory for these activists in their efforts to shape their



Redevelopment Areas (U.R.A.) are designated by the state to provide economic

incentives to communities with high levels of poverty. These areas also tend to

have a high concentration of alcohol outlets, especially convenience stores

that sell malt liquor and fortified wines.?

These stores are associated with increased incidence of violence, drug

dealing, and underage drinking.?

Restricting the stores was difficult, however, since the North Carolina state government has sole authority over

liquor permits.?

Residents of southeast Raleigh, an Urban Redevelopment

Area, recognized the need to limit alcohol sales in their community as part of

the renewal and redevelopment process. Concerned by the presence of more than

forty alcohol retailers in their neighborhood, they decided to take

action.First, the activists pressed the

Alcoholic Beverages Commission to step up enforcement in southeast

Raleigh the ABC responded by dedicating an officer to work

with the community.


But the residents wanted even more control over their community, so they asked their

legislators, including State Senator Eric Reeves (D-Raleigh), to introduce

a bill to limit alcohol sales in U.R.A.s. Senator Reeves did so, convening public hearings in the General

Assembly to explore the problem. These hearings were standing room only,

heavily attended by community activists as well as industry

representatives. According to Octavia Rainey, who led efforts to pass the

bill, it was in these hearings that the activists demonstrated their

commitment to controlling alcohol sales in their community. In the House, Rep. Dan Blue introduced a similar bill, and both

bills went to vote in 1999.


Despite industry

opposition, the bills passed, becoming law in December of 1999. The law provides a mechanism by which the state Alcoholic Beverages

Commission can work with residents to maintain a reasonable level of

alcohol sales in certain communities. Should a store be suspected of violating the provisions of the law,

the City Council can request that the ABC investigate. Following the investigation, stores whose sales are in violation of

the law lose their alcoholic beverage permits.



their determination and perseverance, the residents of southeast


have won the power

to remove problem alcohol retailers from their neighborhood, making it a

safer and healthier place to live. 

For more information contact: Octavia Rainey at (919) 834-4022



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