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  • require persons who deliver alcohol to record the recipient’s age identification information from a valid government-issued document (such as a driver’s license or ID card); and

  • require recipients of home delivery of alcohol to sign a statement verifying receipt of alcohol and attesting that they are of legal age to purchase alcohol.


As noted above, young drinkers most often obtain alcohol from social sources, through friends, acquaintances, family members, and other adults who buy or provide alcohol to them. It is thus important for any effective strategy to reduce social access to alcohol for minors. In this regard, it is essential to communicate strong norms about the unacceptability of adults providing alcohol to minors or facilitating alcohol use by minors. Media campaigns highlighting the responsibility of adults in preventing young people from obtaining alcohol are one means of communicating such norms that should be implemented. Similarly, using media to increase awareness of laws prohibiting adults from providing alcohol to minors and drawing attention to enforcement efforts can further increase the effectiveness of legal approaches to preventing social provision of alcohol to minors and may help establish or reinforce community norms against this behavior. Such media activities are thus an important part of any enforcement activities to reduce provision of alcohol to minors (see Chapter 6).

Third-Party Transactions

Third-party transactions occur when young people ask adults to purchase alcohol for them. Third-party transactions are a common means through which underage drinkers, especially older teens, obtain alcohol (see Tables 9-2 and 9-3 above), partly because young people may believe it is less risky than trying to purchase alcohol themselves. Often, young people wait outside outlets and approach strangers whom they ask to buy alcohol.

“Shoulder tap” interventions are a strategy to directly reduce third-party transactions of alcohol by enforcing laws prohibiting provision of alcohol to minors. Underage decoys who are working with the police wait outside outlets and ask randomly selected passing strangers to buy alcohol (usually beer) for them. A plainclothes police observer is stationed nearby to witness the transaction. If a stranger agrees to make a purchase, he or she is given money to do so by the decoy. The buyer is cited or warned for providing alcohol to a minor when he or she completes the transaction and gives the alcohol to the decoy. Although rigorous evidence for effectiveness is lacking, case studies suggest that such programs can generate a relatively

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