Citing long holiday weekends, a broad array of sold-out concerts and outdoor events, and the arrival of college students home for the summer, the Department of Consumer Protection Liquor Control Division is stepping up enforcement activities, looking for retailers that would sell alcoholic beverages to persons under the legal age of 21.
Commissioner William Rubenstein said, “There are too many motor vehicle accidents involving youth who have been drinking and too many young people being brought to emergency departments — often unconscious — due to alcohol over-consumption. Binge drinking among young people continues to be a serious problem; kids are obviously buying it somewhere or someone is buying it for them.
“Parents and family members who provide alcohol to someone under age 21 not only break the law, but also contribute to a problem that frequently ends in death for someone’s son or daughter, just about every weekend. Our role is to make it difficult for teens to buy liquor in Connecticut, but parents, families and friends need to do all they can to discourage underage drinking – both at home and away from home.”
Mr. Rubenstein said the vast majority of liquor permit holders understand the law and don’t sell to minors. However, through the department’s undercover compliance checks, when a permit holder is found breaking the law, there are consequences.
“Last year, working with our law enforcement partners and volunteer youth provided by the Governor’s Prevention Partnership, we conducted 800 compliance checks throughout the state – restaurants, bars, package stores, and grocery stores,” Mr. Rubenstein said. “The result was 270 liquor permits being temporarily suspended for liquor law violations, most involving the sale of alcoholic liquor or beverages to minors. On top of suspensions, we assessed fines of approximately $1.35 million. Permittees who don’t want to lose days of operation and the revenue it generates should think carefully about making sure they and their employees are paying close attention to whom they are selling.”
State Liquor Control agents have already provided regulatory enforcement at two large-scale concert performances at the Comcast Theatre, and at the first two Alive at 5 concerts in Stamford, Mr. Rubenstein said.
“We plan to be present at other entertainment venues throughout the summer, while stepping up our routine compliance checks as well,” he said. “We can all do more to prevent the needless tragedies related to underage drinking. I encourage parents to take important first steps this Fourth of July holiday by visiting www.SetTheRulesCT.org and following up with a serious talk with their teens.”