Feds Vow $17 Million for States to Enforce Underage Drinking Laws

April 14, 2006

The Department of Justice is awarding more than $17 million to 50 states and the District of Columbia to enforce state and local underage drinking laws.

The awards are made through the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws program in the DOJ’s Office of Justice , which supports activities in law enforcement, public education programs and innovative methods for reaching youth.

“Families, communities and law enforcement must work together to stop the effects of underage drinking,” said Regina B. Schofield, assistant attorney general for the Office of Justice Programs.

“These awards fund initiatives to assist youth in preventing alcohol and substance abuse by strong enforcement of laws and zero tolerance for those who provide alcohol to minors. In addition, prevention programs will assist youths and their families with developing alternatives to drinking.”

EUDL is the only federal initiative directed exclusively toward preventing underage drinking. The program consists of $350,000 block grants to each state and the District of Columbia.

Although EUDL funding supports a wide range of activities, most states focus on enforcement. These states report a strong emphasis on compliance checks of retail alcohol outlets to reduce sales to minors. Other enforcement activities include crackdowns on false identification, programs to reduce the provision of alcohol to minors by older youth or adults, party patrols to prevent access to alcohol at large youth gatherings, cops-in-shops programs to deter minors’ attempts to purchase alcohol, and youth-focused campaigns to enforce impaired driving laws.

Additionally, other states report establishing keg registration ordinances to deter the rental or purchase of beer kegs for use by minors.

EUDL says its funding also has helped states promote community awareness of underage drinking, encourage changes in norms regarding underage drinking, and develop organizational structures and relationships to support coordinated efforts.

In 1998, Congress first appropriated funding to encourage the enforcement of underage drinking laws throughout the country.

Source: Department of Justice

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