TULSA, OK – [July 27, 2017] – The Tulsa Health Department’s Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC) program partners with local police, ABLE agents, members of the Tulsa County Sherriff’s Office, and trained underage youth to conduct alcohol compliance checks at Tulsa County establishments that sell or serve beer or alcohol.
Since July 2016, the team completed 125 compliance checks, resulting in 13 sales to minors and a 90% compliance rate. This reflects a consistent trend from last year’s 90% compliance rate.
“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, Tulsa Health Department’s RPC program manager. “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.”
Sales of alcohol to minors may result in a felony charge and fines up to $5,000. Sale of 3.2 beers is a misdemeanor punishable with fines up to $550.
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 2013, underage drinking cost the citizens of Oklahoma $1 billion,” said Long. “These costs include medical care, work loss, and pain and suffering associated with the multiple problems resulting from the use of alcohol by youth. This underscores the importance of ensuring that businesses and their employees understand how to responsibly serve and sell beer and alcohol.”
RPC, in conjunction with ABLE, also 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. Any business or individual who is interested in this free training should contact the Tulsa Health Department at 918-595-4475.
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 concentrated 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 compliance operations. For more information regarding the RPC program at the Tulsa Health Department, please visit www.tulsa-health.org.