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ALC-001: Working to Eliminate Underage Alcohol Consumption

Working to Eliminate Underage Alcohol Consumption: The Wisconsin Medical Society is opposed to persons under the age of 21 obtaining alcoholic beverages in violation of state law. The Society:

  • Supports prohibiting the possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages by persons under the age of 21.
  • Supports restrictions on drinking for persons under the age of 21 because of scientific evidence that demonstrates the frontal lobe of the human brain is not fully developed for people under the age of 21, and those who drink before the age of 21 are at a higher risk for future alcohol abuse disorder.
  • Supports public health policies to curtail under 21 and high-risk drinking including initiatives banning unescorted persons under 21 from entry into bars, increasing beer excise taxes, reducing or eliminating drink specials, reducing or controlling alcohol outlet density, requiring beer keg registration at retail points of sale, and mandating server and seller training and enforcement.
  • Acknowledges that the risks posed to individuals under 21 by powdered alcohol products (e.g. accidental overconsumption or unsafe binging behavior) are largely unknown, and therefore supports a precautionary principle approach in which reasonable safety must be established empirically prior to the sale or use of such products.
  • Encourages alcohol companies, advertising companies and commercial media to refrain from marketing practices (including product design, advertising and promotional techniques) that have substantial appeal to persons under 21 and should take reasonable precautions in the time, place and manner of placement and promotion to reduce youthful exposure to other alcohol advertising and marketing activity.
  • Encourages entertainment industries (e.g. movies, music, radio, television) to limit alcohol-related content in the media, limit the glamorization of alcohol use among young people, and consider alcohol content when rating such media, assigning mature ratings for media that portrays alcohol in a favorable light.
  • Supports prohibiting possession of and use of falsified or fraudulent identification to purchase or attempt to purchase alcoholic beverages.
  • Supports prohibiting the provision of any alcohol to persons under 21 by adults.
  • Supports prohibiting the provision of any alcohol to persons under 21 in private clubs and establishments.
  • Supports compliance check programs and appropriate staff training on alcohol sales in retail outlets that sell alcohol, with appropriate penalties for noncompliance.
  • State and local enforcement officials should deter adults from purchasing alcohol for persons under 21. Enforcement officials should:
    1. Routinely undertake shoulder tap or other prevention programs targeting adults who purchase alcohol for persons under 21.
    2. Enact and enforce laws to hold retailers responsible, as a condition of licensing, for allowing persons under 21 to loiter and solicit adults to purchase alcohol for them on outlet property.
    3. Use nuisance and loitering ordinances as a means of discouraging youth from congregating outside of alcohol outlets in order to solicit adults to purchase alcohol.
  • Retailers that provide internet sales and home delivery of alcohol should regulate these activities to reduce the likelihood of sales to purchasers under the age of 21. The Society:
    1. Encourages all packages for delivery containing alcohol to be clearly labeled as such.
    2. Encourages persons who deliver alcohol to record the recipient’s age identification information from a valid government-issued document (such as a driver license or ID card).
    3. Supports a requirement that the recipient of home delivery of alcohol sign a statement verifying receipt of alcohol and attesting that he or she is of legal age to purchase alcohol.
  • Local police, working with community leaders, should adopt and announce policies for detecting and terminating drinking parties for persons under 21, including:
    1. Routinely responding to complaints from the public about noisy teenage parties and entering the premises when there is probable cause to suspect drinking under the age of 21 is taking place.
    2. Routinely checking, as a part of regular weekend patrols, open areas where teenage drinking parties are known to occur.
    3. Routinely citing drinkers under the age of 21 and, if possible, the person who supplied the alcohol when drinking under the age of 21 is observed at parties.
  • The Society supports efforts to:
    1. Prevent and detect the use of false identification by persons under 21 to make alcohol purchases, including prohibiting the production, sale, distribution, possession and use of false identification for attempted alcohol purchase.
    2. Issue driver licenses and state identification cards that can be electronically scanned, and require alcohol outlets to use scanners.
    3. Allow retailers to confiscate apparently false identification for law enforcement inspection.
    4. Implement administrative penalties (e.g., immediate confiscation of a driver’s license and issuance of a citation resulting in a substantial fine) for attempted use of false identification by persons under 21 for alcohol purchases.
  • With respect to prevention, treatment and counseling, the Society supports:
    1. Intensive research and development for youth-focused campaigns to prevent drinking under the age of 21.
    2. Evidence-based screening and intervention programs.
    3. Evidence-based initiatives to prevent or reduce drinking under the age of 21 on college campuses.
    4. The availability of effective clinical services for treating alcohol abuse among populations under the age of 21. (HOD, 0416)