And so it starts . . . just days after I-1183, the initiative to privatize liquor sales in our state, passed, Publicola reports that small grocers are preparing to ask legislators to reduce the required size of stores selling hard alcohol.
People can call me and other pro-regulation advocates a nanny or a liar all that they want, but the research is clear: increased access to alcohol increases consumption, including consumption among minors. I blogged about it on October 24 and August 18. The coalition website contains links to lessons learned about private liquor sales and public health consequences in the UK. AlcoholPolicyMD.com is one of many great online resources about how public policy can be used to prevent underage drinking.
People can also say that "kids will be kids" and that there is nothing we can do to stop them from drinking but, again, we have research that shows otherwise. Not to mention that our northeast Seattle community has worked together to reduce underage drinking rates over the past five years.
Will strong regulations and policy limiting alcohol marketing and availability alone prevent underage drinking? No. However, it is one tool for communities to use to prevent underage drinking. When one part of an already beleaguered substance abuse prevention system is eliminated, it makes a significant difference in a community's ability to keep kids safe and healthy.