State study investigates underage alcohol purchases

State study investigates underage alcohol purchases

Underage Oklahomans are successful about 26% of the time when they attempt to purchase alcohol.

On Monday, the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (ODMHSAS) and the Oklahoma Alcoholic Beverage Law Enforcement Commission (ABLE) released the results of a joint study monitoring underage access to alcohol.

The study assessed compliance at establishments where alcohol is consumed on-premises, such as bars and restaurants, and at businesses where alcohol is sold but not consumed on-premises, such as grocery and convenience stores.

The state’s overall compliance rate was 73.7%. On average, servers and clerks asked to check an underage individual’s ID 81.3% of the time. Restaurants and bars asked to check an ID 75% of the time, while stores asked for an ID 91.5% of the time.

In instances where servers or clerks checked the consumer’s ID, underage purchase attempts were successful 24% of the time in restaurants and bars and 12% of the time in stores. When the underage consumer’s ID was not checked, 94% of purchase attempts were successful.

Restaurants and bars also had a lower overall compliance rate, selling alcohol to underage drinkers about 41% of the time, compared to stores, which sold alcohol 16.4% of the time.

“The results of this study will help us direct resources to combat the sale of alcohol to underage individuals. This is a public safety issue that we continuously attack through proactive education and enforcement,” said ABLE director Brandon Clabes in a press release.

The study is conducted every two years. This year, it took place between Feb. 1 and May 15, with a total of 799 compliance checks, 673 of which were eligible for assessment.

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