July 2, 2015: CPA supports Governor Wolf’s veto of legislation that would privatize the state liquor system. Part of CPA’s efforts focus on reducing alcohol abuse. As drug and alcohol prevention professionals, our main concern is the effect on public health and safety related to underage drinking, alcohol addiction, and alcohol-related crimes such as driving under the influence.
As a “control state” in regards to the sale of liquor, PA takes ownership of the product. Results of a recent US study indicated:
• Control states had significantly fewer youth reporting past 30-day drinking and binge drinking. It also showed that rates of alcohol-impaired drinking deaths were 9.3% lower than in license states. According to PIRE (Pacific Institute of Research and Evaluation) an increase in sales of wine and spirits would lead to an increase in underage drinking with approximately 25% of the increased sales going to teens and young adults under the age of 21.
• Control states have lower per capita spirits sales and lower per capita consumption of wine and spirits.
• Control states have liquor store employees who are trained, are more vigilant in checking for identification, and have no motivation to sell to underage individuals.
• Control states have less retail outlets per capita than license states. When outlet density increases, so do alcohol sales, along with an increase in alcohol-related problems for youth and adults.
Some of these alcohol-related problems for youth and adults include:
• Deaths and injuries from accidents, homicides, violent assaults, suicides, alcohol-related diseases such as cirrhosis, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, reduced worker productivity, worker absenteeism, alcoholism, and increased crime.
These alcohol-related problems can result in increased costs to the criminal justice system/facilities, healthcare and medical costs, property loss and damage, education system, insurance, employers and businesses
Alcohol abuse does not end with the above mentioned issues, but continues to impact individuals and families as a gateway to other illicit drug use, alcohol-related illnesses, domestic abuse, and other violent crimes.
The Commonwealth Prevention Alliance is in full support of Governor Wolf’s veto of this piece of legislation. We appreciate and thank Governor Wolf for his strong and decisive leadership regarding this topic and the effects it will have on PA residents.