Community level alcohol availability and enforcement of possesion laws as predictors of youth drinking

Oregon Research Institute, Eugene, OR 97403, USA.
Preventive Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.09). 04/2005; 40(3):355-62. DOI: 10.1016/j.ypmed.2004.06.014
Source: PubMed


Despite a minimum legal drinking age, many young people use alcohol. Environmental strategies to control youth drinking focus on restricting access and the enforcement of possession laws. This study examines the relationship between use of these strategies and the frequency of youth alcohol use and related problems.
Participants were 16,694 students, ages 16-17 in 92 communities in Oregon. A multi-level analysis of a repeated cross-sectional statewide student survey was conducted. The outcome measures examined include 30-day frequency of alcohol use, binge drinking, use of alcohol at school, and drinking and driving.
The rate of illegal merchant sales in the communities directly related to all four alcohol-use outcomes. There was also evidence that communities with higher minor in possession law enforcement had lower rates of alcohol use and binge drinking. The use of various sources in a community expanded and contracted somewhat depending on levels of access and enforcement.
This evidence provides empirical support for the potential utility of local efforts to maintain or increase alcohol access control and possession enforcement.

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    • "Alcohol is most often obtained by adolescents from social sources, including peers and family members. Provision by friends over the age of 21 is the biggest contributor to alcohol use among teenagers [11–14], but youth also report provision by parents and guardians [15]. Although the majority (78%) of 15 to 17 year-olds report that they did not pay for the alcohol during their last use [16], 30% report having purchased alcohol from commercial sources [11]. "
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