DOJ Funds Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws

Published: April 25, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP) announced awards of more than $17 million to 50 states and the District of Columbia to enforce state and local underage drinking laws.

The awards are made through the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws program, which supports activities in law enforcement, public education programs and innovative methods for reaching youth.

Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) is the only federal initiative directed exclusively toward preventing underage drinking. The program consists of $350,000 block grants to each state and the District of Columbia . Administered by OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the EUDL program has the strategic goal of reducing the availability of alcoholic beverages to minors.

Although EUDL funding supports a wide range of activities, most states focus on enforcement. These states report a strong emphasis on compliance checks of retail alcohol outlets to reduce sales to minors. Other enforcement activities include crackdowns on false identification, programs to reduce the provision of alcohol to minors by older youth or adults, “party patrols” to prevent access to alcohol at large youth gatherings, “cops in shops” programs to deter minors attempts to purchase alcohol, and youth-focused campaigns to enforce impaired driving laws.

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Additionally, many states report implementing or strengthening laws and policies that can reduce underage drinking, such as establishing keg registration ordinances to deter the rental or purchase of beer kegs for use by minors. EUDL funding also has helped states promote community awareness of underage drinking, encourage changes in norms regarding underage drinking, and develop organizational structures and relationships to support coordinated efforts.

In 1998, Congress recognized the seriousness of underage drinking and related problems when it appropriated funding to encourage the enforcement of underage drinking laws throughout the country.  The EUDL Program was established to support and enhance the efforts of state and local jurisdictions to prohibit the sale of alcoholic beverages to minors and the purchase and consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors (minors are defined as persons younger than 21). The objectives of EUDL are to establish statewide task forces of state and local law enforcement and prosecutorial agencies, develop public advertising campaigns and support innovative programs aimed at reducing underage drinking.

More information can be found at www.ojp.usdoj.gov.

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