Community Laws and Norms Workgroup
413-774-3167, ext 120
The Community Laws and Norms Workgroup meets quarterly at the offices of the Partnership for Youth.
What we do
The goal of the Community Laws and Norms Workgroup is to increase the percentage of teens who believe that adults in their community DO NOT approve of youth drinking alcohol. Workgroup strategies include:
CTC completes quarterly round of Alcohol Purchase Surveys
CTC is currently conducting its quarterly round of "Rewards and Reminders" Alcohol Purchase Surveys (APS) in all off-premise alcohol licensed establishments in Franklin County and the North Quabbin. In APS, young adults (usually 21 or 22 years old) attempt to buy alcohol to test whether they will be carded. APS are designed to encourage clerks to follow best practices of asking for valid identification from anyone who appears under the age of 30. Clerks who do card receive a congratulatory notice and small gift, and those who do not receive a reminder that they should card. The more often young people are asked for ID, the less likely sales to minors will occur, and the more the community gains a reputation for being serious about underage drinking.
And just why do we care about these community norms?
Young people who believe adults in their community think underage drinking is wrong are less likely to drink than young people who think adults don't care. Similarly, young people who think alcohol is difficult to obtain are less likely to report drinking than their peers who find it easy to access alcohol. Here's what our local data show:
Only 16% of local young people who believe adults in their community think underage drinking is very wrong report recent use of alcohol -- whereas more than half of those who believe adults think underage drinking is a little bit wrong or not wrong at all report recent drinking.
Only 8% of local young people who say it is very hard to get alcohol report recent drinking, as compared to 52% of those who say it is very easy.
Towns cooperate on alcohol compliance checks
In July-August 2012, CTC assisted 15 towns in conducting alcohol compliance checks in establishments licensed to sell alcohol in Franklin County and the North Quabbin region. Compliance checks involve sending underage buyers into stores and restaurants to buy alcoholic beverages to test whether vendors will ask for ID and refuse to sell. Police officers accompany the young people (they wait in the car while the underage buyer goes in) and issue citations when vendors do not comply with the law. Research shows that routine compliance checks reduce youth access to alcohol and the fatalities, sexual assault, injuries and accidents associated with underage drinking.
The checks were implemented twice a year by a unique collaboration between CTC and 15 Franklin County towns that have signed onto the Franklin County Alcohol Beverages Compliance Initiative MOU: Ashfield, Athol, Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Deerfield, Gill, Health, Montague, Northfield, Orange, Shelburne, Sunderland and Whately. CTC also assisted Greenfield in conducting alcohol compliance checks in December.
Responsible server training
CTC sponsors training for staff in licensed alcohol establishments to promote best practices to prevent intoxication, drunk driving and underage drinking. CTC brings Massachusetts Package Stores Association ("MassPack") Alcohol Server Training to the area to train off-premise staff, and Training for Intervention Procedures ("TIPS") to train on-premise staff. At the latest training in June 2012, a TIPS training, 25 managers and servers of area restaurants and bars were trained and certified.
Participants received training in acceptable forms of identification, how to recognize fake and altered IDs, how to handle intoxicated and problem customers, preventing second party sales (when legal age persons purchase alcohol for underage people) and regulations that govern the sale of alcohol. The training provides clerks and servers skills to do their jobs safely and legally, and gives them the certification their employers require to obtain liability insurance for their establishments.
The Community Laws and Norms Workgroup will be scheduling additional MassPack and TIPS seminars in the coming year. To inquire about training, contact Amanda Doster.