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  • In The News: The way states control the sale of alcohol affects under-age drinking

    Editor June 18th

    After the cancellation of National Prohibition in 1933, authority over alcohol sales was given to individual states. While each state has its own way of controlling the sale of alcoholic beverages, there are two main classifications: “control” states and “license” states.

    •  “Control” states (like the name implies) are those where the government has direct control over the retail sale of one or more alcoholic beverages (wine, beer, hard liquor). So certain types of alcohol (most often hard liquor) are only sold at”state stores” This may make it is easier to oversee who is buying and deter underage young people from purchasing alcohol.
    • “License” states (such as New York) allow for private companies to sell alcohol, but require retailers to get a license to sell alcoholic beverages.—While some states allow wine and hard liquor in grocery and drug stores, New York does  limit the sales of wine and hard liquor to liquor stores or specialty wine stores.  This tends to limit the access of underage youth to alcohol, since kids have no “legitimate” reason to be in a liquor store.

    “Privatization” is a type of release, when a state moves from being a control state to being a license state. 

    The result of privatization?According to the Community Preventive Services Task Force, privatization of alcohol sales has been shown to generally increase the availability of alcohol, which is associated with higher consumption and more alcohol problems. 

    A specific study of privatization in Washington State showed an increased number of alcohol-related emergency room (ER) visits by young people between the ages of 12-20 The study also found an increased number of alcohol-related thefts in 2024 including seven cases at one local Safeway and three incidents at Walgreens. Read more

    Why do young people wind up in the ER after drinking?

    • Alcohol poisoning
    • Falls and other injuries
    • Self-harm
    • Violence
    • Car accidents

    What constitutes heavy drinking for adults?

    • Men: more than two (2) drinks per day
    • Women: more than one (1) drink per day

    What are the long-term and short-term health conditions tied to heavy drinking?

    •  Heart disease
    • High blood pressure
    •  Cancer (Including head/neck, female breast, liver, and colorectal cancers)
    •  Liver disease
    •  Stroke
    •  Accidental injuries
    •  Violence
    •  Suicide
    •  Many psychological problems including depression
    •  Death**

    As New York is already a “Licensed” state, and alcohol here is already more “privatized” than it is in other states like,  Pennsylvania, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, it has a lot of issues with alcohol-related deaths and injury

    •  2008, nearly 1,540 New Yorkers died of alcohol related causes.


    **A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study shows that alcohol is the third cause of death among youth between the ages of 10-24 years, (tobacco being the number one and diet/lack of exercise being the second).

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