Throughout the year, ROCMND Area Youth Services offers free Responsible Beverage Service and Sales Training to all Okmulgee County Alcohol Vendors. The purpose of these training sessions is to educate sellers and servers about alcohol laws, the importance of not selling alcohol to minors, how to recognize fake IDs and how to read IDs.
Providing alcohol to youth not only has legal consequences for the merchant, but there are also harmful effects for the child. Youth who drink are more likely to do poorly in school, engage in risky sexual behavior, get in accidents, become violent, and do poorly in social situations. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, “Excessive drinking contributes to more than 3,900 deaths among people below the age of 21 in the U.S. each year.”
The Alcoholic Beverage Laws Enforcement will be checking stores to make sure they are compliant with state laws to protect the health of local youth. During these checks an undercover officer will send underage youth into the store to attempt to purchase alcohol. The youth that are involved will have undergone an age perception test to ensure they do not look old enough to purchase alcohol. They are also trained to not lie if asked their age or if they are 21.
According to Assistant Director of OSU Community Wellness and Okmulgee County Consortium Secretary Margaret Black, “the purpose of the checks is not to trick the vendor. We don’t want the youth to be able to make the purchase.”
Responsible Beverage Service and Sales Trainings are important to increase the compliance of state alcohol laws at local vendors. Black also expressed that Okmulgee County is fortunate to have so many agencies committed to protecting local youth from the harmful and addictive problems associated with underage access to alcohol.
“We have merchants wanting to learn new ways to not sell products that are harmful to kids,” Black said. “We also have dedicated local, county and state law enforcement officers that work hard to protect our youth.”
Okmulgee County’s Community Based Prevention Services are funded by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Prevention Division and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. For more information about getting merchant training, please contact Stacy Potter at 918-256-7518 or go to www.rocmnd. org/rbss-training to sign up for a training.
If you would like to be involved in working toward underaged drinking prevention, we would love to see you at our next coalition meeting. The Okmulgee County Consortium meets every third Wednesday of the month at 12 p.m. in the conference room of the Moore Detention Center, 111 S. Alabama Ave. in Okmulgee.