TULSA, OK – [June 18, 2014] – The Tulsa Health Department’s Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC) staff with the assistance of Alcohol Beverages Law Enforcement (ABLE) agents, members of the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and trained underage youth recently conducted alcohol compliance checks at Tulsa County establishments that sell or serve beer or alcohol.
Since June 2013, the team conducted 237 compliance checks in Tulsa County to date, resulting in 27 sales to minors and an 89% compliance rate. This reflects an improvement from the previous fiscal year’s 85% compliance rate.
Underage drinking is a leading public health problem and is a causal factor in a host of serious problems such as homicide, suicide, traumatic injury, violence, property crime, high risk sex, fetal alcohol syndrome, and alcohol poisoning and abuse. In 2010, underage drinking cost the citizens of Oklahoma $831 million.
“While there are a variety of ways for young people to obtain alcohol, research has shown that youth who purchase their alcohol, as opposed to getting it free, are far more determined to drink it and consume it in larger quantities than those who do not pay,” said Marianne Long, RPC coordinator. “Compliance checks are an important tool used to determine if a licensed retail outlet is following state and local laws that regulate the sale of alcohol to minors.”
The sale of alcohol to minors may result in a felony charge and fines up to $5,000. The sale of 3.2 percent beer to a minor is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $550.
The RPC program offers free Responsible Beverage Sales and Service (RBSS) training to local retailers, bars, and restaurants. The training reviews Oklahoma alcohol laws, teaches vendors and servers how to recognize fake or altered forms of identification, and processes to use in refusing sales to intoxicated customers. Businesses interested in this free training should contact the Tulsa Health Department at (918)595-4513.
Regional Prevention Coordinators
Regional Prevention Coordinators is a grant funded program established to reduce the rates for underage drinking, adult binge drinking, and the non-medical use of painkillers within Tulsa County. The work of RPC is to focus on population-level change in Tulsa County by assisting communities in determining the substance abuse problems affecting their constituents and the most effective strategies to address these problems. RPC works with local coalitions and stakeholders to gather data, track trends, and provide training and technical assistance within the community. Additionally, RPC provides support for town hall meetings and assists with local alcohol and tobacco compliance operations.
For more information regarding RBSS training or the Regional Prevention Coordinator program at the Tulsa Health Department, please visit click here.