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Reducing Underage Drinking: A Collective Responsibility
crashes, injuries, and fatalities (Lacey et al., 1999; Stuster and Blowers, 1995). However, the committee did not find any studies addressing the effects of these programs on drinking or drinking and driving among adolescents. Sobriety checkpoints may be a particularly important component of zero tolerance laws, given the difficultly of detecting young drinking drivers with very low BAC levels. Public awareness and publicity appear to be important factors in the success of sobriety checkpoints.
Recommendation 9-11: States and localities should routinely implement sobriety checkpoints.
POSSESSION AND PURCHASE
Underage Drinking Parties
One major way that underage drinkers gain access to alcohol is at parties. In one study, for example, 32 percent of sixth graders, 56 percent of ninth graders, and 60 percent of twelfth graders reported obtaining alcohol at parties (Harrison et al., 2000). Underage drinking parties frequently involve large groups and are commonly held in a home, an outdoor area, or a hotel room. Law enforcement can respond to noise complaints to investigate such gatherings. Even when it is not possible to cite underage drinkers or the person who supplied the alcohol, awareness of increased police activity in this regard can act as a deterrent and can express community norms to adults regarding the unacceptability of providing alcohol to minors.
Recommendation 9-12: Local police, working with community leaders, should adopt and announce policies for detecting and terminating underage drinking parties, including:
routinely responding to complaints from the public about noisy teenage parties and entering the premises when there is probable cause to suspect underage drinking is taking place;
routinely checking, as a part of regular weekend patrols, open areas where teenage drinking parties are known to occur; and
routinely citing underage drinkers and, if possible, the person who supplied the alcohol when underage drinking is observed at parties.
Cops in Shops
“Cops in Shops” is a voluntary program developed by the Century Council, a prevention organization sponsored by the alcohol industry. In this program, police or ABC agents pose as employees or customers in retail