Don't know what to think about Initiative 1183?
Before I get into all of the studies that show a correlation between alcohol availability and underage drinking, just imagine what our community will look like if stores that are 10,000 square feet or larger can sell hard alcohol. Imagine the large QFC, Safeway, Bartell Drug and Rite Aid stores in our community (most of them) with shelves of hard alcohol. In several stores, I already feel bombarded with wine displays. When we go shopping with our kids, do we want to see vodka and rum displays throughout some stores? Is that what we want in our community?
Now on to the research. When it comes to underage drinking, we know that:
-- a growing number of youth who drink prefer liquor to other forms of alcohol. According to a recent report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “distilled spirits” are the #1 choice among 12th grade girls who drink and the #2 choice among 12th grade boys who drink.
-- when it comes to minors accessing alcohol, Washington State liquor stores have a 94% no-sale-to-minors compliance rate, the nation’s highest. Private sector compliance rates range from 76% - 84%.
-- there is a correlation between alcohol outlet density (the number of places where people can buy alcohol) and youth alcohol consumption. One of the studies cited in the ADAI fact sheet regarding last year's privatization initiatives found that, "more comprehensive and stringent alcohol control policies, particularly those affecting availability and marketing, are associated with lower prevalence/frequency of adolescent consumption and age of first use."
More information about privatizing/deregulating the sale of alcohol and public health and safety can be viewed on the WASAVP website, the Marin Institute website and the Campaign for a Healthy Alcohol Marketplace website.