Easy access

According to 2008 Healthy Youth Survey data, 65% of NE Seattle high school seniors report that it is easy to obtain alcohol if they want it. (Thanks to RUaD -- the state coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking -- for the beautiful charts!)

A few months ago, the Seattle Police Department and members of the Prevention WINS coalition in NE Seattle asked the Liquor Control Board to not renew the liquor license of SP Mart. Since the mini-mart has a long history of selling to minors, no matter who owns it, the police also requested that the license be removed from the site.

The store continues to be a place where minors attempt to purchase alcohol, often successfully. Early last month, a Liquor Control Board officer caught a minor in possession of alcohol outside of the store. The minor had requested an adult purchase alcohol for him or her and was successful. Though SP Mart did not receive a citation this time, the incident shows that minors still feel comfortable trying to buy alcohol there.

Surmising that teenagers are likely to try to obtain alcohol elsewhere in our community, Liquor Control Board officers are monitoring other stores in the Wedgwood area for sales to minors.

Reducing teenager's access to alcohol is one of several prevention strategies happening in our community. One strategy alone isn't going to reduce our high underage drinking rates. However, as a community, if we all work together and implement effective prevention strategies throughout NE Seattle, we will make a difference.