Privatization of liquor stores

Up to three initiatives that concern the privatization of liquor sales may appear on the November ballot in Washington. If approved, the initiatives would be a significant set-back for substance abuse prevention efforts in our state. Liquor control is a proven "environmental strategy" for preventing underage drinking.

Here are a few talking points about why state-run liquor stores are good for preventing underage drinking:

The Washington State Liquor Control Board's 94% no-sale-to-minors compliance rate is the highest in the nation. The private-sector compliance rate for alcohol sales is much lower, with rates ranging from 76%-84%.

States with retail monopolies have a lower prevalence of drinking and binge drinking among people between 12 and 25 years old.

Because state-run stores are state property, states can more easily regulate the on-site marketing of alcoholic beverages, including the promotion of products within the stores the display of exterior advertising for alcoholic beverages.

The Washington Association for Substance Abuse & Violence Prevention (WASAVP) is working to prevent these initiatives from being approved by voters this fall. WASAVP is a volunteer-run organization and is always looking for new members to support its mission to unite prevention advocates.