Underage Alcohol Sales: What Stores and Communities Can Do

In this letter to the editor, Cathy Finck of the Cobb Alcohol Taskforce responds to Kroger's 60-day suspension.

The recently reported is a recurring issue at some Cobb County Kroger locations. It is important for Cobb Commissioners to take these illegal sales seriously and issue sanctions that are effective at deterring future violations. It remains to be seen whether a 60-day suspension of Kroger's alcohol license at its Powder Springs Road store will result in sustained compliance.

Government and business practices proven to help prevent underage alcohol sales do exist and need to be utilized. Law enforcement use of compliance checks and government use of effective administrative sanctions have proven helpful. Business use of effective alcohol policies, hiring, training and management practices can also help. Enforcing underage drinking laws saves lives and saves money.

Alcohol causes more harm for youth than all illegal drugs combined. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports an average of 48 teens are killed and 5,202 are injured in car crashes during a typical spring prom and graduation weekend. There are second hand effects too; underage drinking is a contributing factor in crimes such as assault, traffic, theft, fraud and sex crimes.

It is estimated that underage drinking cost Cobb County citizens $3.1 million in 2010. Governments and businesses share in these costs through lost productivity and public health and safety costs.

Anyone interested in learning more about what stores and communities can do to help prevent underage alcohol sales and underage drinking, please contact the Cobb Alcohol Taskforce at coordinator@cobbat.org or visit www.cobbat.org.

Cathy Fink, Coordinator

Cobb Alcohol Taskforce



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