TULSA, OK – [June 3, 2014] – The Tulsa Health Department’s Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC) program would like to congratulate and thank the planners and volunteers of this year’s Tulsa Mayfest for successfully completing another safe year with no major alcohol-related incidents.
RPC, along with the Alcoholic Beverage Law Enforcement (ABLE) Commission and Tulsa Police Department, conducted 17 alcohol compliance checks at Mayfest and the surrounding restaurants and bars this year. Only one sale was made during the checks, resulting in a compliance rate of 94%. In 2013, there were 26 alcohol compliance checks performed with a compliance rate of 96%.
Prior to the opening day of Mayfest this year, RPC and the ABLE Commission worked with event planners to help train more than 30 volunteers on Responsible Beverage Service and Sales (RBSS). RBSS is a program designed to educate merchants on Oklahoma alcohol laws, teach vendors and servers how to recognize fake or altered forms of identification, and the processes to use for refusing sales to intoxicated customers. This was the second year the Mayfest volunteers attended the RBSS training, and each year the only sales made to minors during the compliance checks were made by individuals who had not attended the RBSS training. In addition to the training, I.D. checking guides were distributed to all alcohol and low point beer vendors to help recognize valid drivers’ licenses and other IDs.
The collective impact of Mayfest and the surrounding downtown establishments promoting responsible legal alcohol consumption is crucial for the greater Tulsa community. Excessive alcohol use by adults and the illegal consumption of alcohol by underage persons contributes to crime, car crashes, injuries, and deaths. Law enforcement officers find that alcohol also has a role in many of the more frequent minor crimes and nuisances that degrade the quality of life in our community. Many noise complaints, vandalism, littering, and similar nuisances often involve young people who have been drinking. Public health officials report that alcohol use and abuse is also connected with teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other health problems.
“We have learned that the community and our youth are safer and healthier when they do not start using alcohol before the age of 21,” said Marianne Long, RPC coordinator. “According to the Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment Survey, 43% of Tulsa 12th graders report having drunk alcohol within the last 30 days, and 29% reported having engaged in binge drinking within the last 2 weeks. Binge drinking is defined as five or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting.”
Providing alcohol to an underage person is a felony, punishable by fines up to $5000 and up to 5 years in prison. Sale of low point beer is a misdemeanor and may result in a $500 fine and/or one year in jail.
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 and tobacco compliance operations. For more information regarding RBSS trainings or the Regional Prevention Coordinator (RPC) program at the Tulsa Health Department, please visit www.tulsa-health.org.