Friday, November 5, 2010

Liquor laws as prevention

Though the two initiatives that would have deregulated or privatized hard alcohol distribution and sales in Washington failed this week, the issue won't be going away any time soon. Already, a state senator has said that he will take another run at it during the upcoming legislative session, according to a story on KPLU.

The Dangers of Alcohol Deregulation: The United Kingdom Experience, written by Pamela Erickson of Public Action Management, provides information about how the regulation of alcohol prevents underage drinking and other public health and safety problems and what we can learn from the liberalized alcohol laws in the UK.

The report stresses the need for multiple strategies to prevent alcohol-related problems: "There is no sliver bullet to curb alcohol problems. What works in the United States may not work for the United Kingdom and vice versa. But, the U.K. situation has highlighted the need for comprehensive regulation rather than deregulation and high taxes. . . . As we have seen, a good system to combat alcohol problems has several measures to ensure prices are not too low and availability is controlled. The system must also have age restrictions, anti-drunk driving measures and effective enforcement."

As the Prevention WINS coalition moves forward with our advocacy work, we will look at all policies that prevent underage drinking and drug use. Our advocacy work will complement our ongoing work with youth and parents and our focus on positive youth development.

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