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Pamela S. Erickson, President/CEO Public Action Management Former Director, Oregon Liquor Control Commission

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Presentation on theme: "Pamela S. Erickson, President/CEO Public Action Management Former Director, Oregon Liquor Control Commission"— Presentation transcript:

1 Pamela S. Erickson, President/CEO Public Action Management Former Director, Oregon Liquor Control Commission

2  Reduce behavior associated with intoxication.  Keep the peace…reduce noise.  Reduce law enforcement costs.

3 “The Task Force on Community Preventive Services recommends maintaining limits on hours of sale in on- premises settings, based on sufficient evidence of effectiveness for reducing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms.” No studies of sales in off-premise settings. Insufficient evidence for extension of less than two hours. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

4  Closing hours are common around the world and in the US. Stricter closing hours tend to prevail in Northern countries where consumption is higher.

5  Most US states have mandated closing hours for on-premise…usually, around 2 pm. Off-premise closing times usually earlier. Many states allow local options for different hours.  More variation in local areas: some large cities have later closing hours, e.g. 4 am in New York City; “bedroom communities” often require earlier closing.

6  Limited instances of places in the US that allow service 24/7 for on-premise sales: Nevada, Louisiana (but allows local option), Birmingham and Mobile, Atlantic City, Memphis, Miami entertainment district.  Major example of experience with 24/7 sales is United Kingdom which currently allows such sales in both on and off premise.

7  In 1930’s, the UK’s license system was a model for US regulatory system design after Prohibition.  All forms of alcohol sold in grocery stores beginning in the 1060’s. Bar hours extended; Sunday sales permitted.  Age laws are weak and poorly enforced.  Licensing Act of 2003 permitted 24 hour sales; enforcement overwhelmed.  New efforts to contain problems are weak.  Source: Statistical handbook 2007 (British Bar and Pub Association)

8 High rates of hospitalization and alcohol related disease including young people with liver cirrhosis. Underage drinking at twice the US rate. High overall consumption rates (8 th highest among 43 countries; US is 23 rd ) Violence and public nuisance around pubs and bars.

9  Hospital Admissions have doubled for liver disease and acute intoxication. Source: Hospital Episode Statistics, The Information Centre, 2008

10  Drinking and intoxication of youth 15-16 are at very high rates, according to the European School Survey.

11 “The story goes back to the 1980s when the collapse of traditional manufacturing led local authorities to look to the night-time economy to create jobs. Run-down urban centres would be regenerated into Continental- style piazzas filled with bars and restaurants, theatres and dance-halls. But the dream of the café culture quickly evaporated. Drinks industry lawyers won a key legal battle that meant licenses could not be refused simply because councils thought there were already enough bars in an area. The result was that one type of business elbowed out almost all others- the mega-pub selling cheap alcohol to 18-24 year-olds, the so-called vertical drinking-dens turning over vast profits.” Mark Easton, BBC Editor, Dec. 1, 2010

12  Large increase in public disorder crimes around bars (vomiting, urination, fights, vandalism).  Thirteen “Booze Buses” used for 2009 New Year’s Celebration to take revelers to the hospital.  Serving practices promote rapid intoxication.  “Predrinking” at home increases bar intoxication. “The barwoman recognized our faces and thought the drinks were for the two of us. But she never stopped serving-enough alcohol to kill each of us.” Anushka Asthana, reporter for The Observer, who was sold 12 rounds of drinks.

13  Four large chains control 75% of the market.  Most use alcohol as a “loss leader” with heavy promotions.  Pre-drinking and drinking at home has increased.  The UK has no law against volume discounts, promotions that induce heavy consumption or minimum prices.  The large chains are locked in price wars.

14 “ By transitioning to a flexible hours system, there may be an opportunity to improve Seattle’s quality of life by eliminating issues of public safety and nuisances associated with current closing times.”


16  Applaud Seattle for taking a careful, comprehensive approach. A pilot is a good idea.  Be mindful that alcohol can cause great harm. According to the CDC, alcohol results in an estimated 79,000 deaths per year. Research indicates that longer hours are associated with increased problems of consumption, violence, crashes and hospital visits. Common sense suggests that if people are in bars longer, they drink more and become more intoxicated.  It may be theoretically possible to “manage” some of these problems, but theory and practice are often quite different. People don’t always “do the right thing”; and, less rational action should be anticipated after drinking.  Providing transportation options doesn’t mean people will use them. (Many intoxicated people think they are okay to drive!) Washington has a high DUI rate: MADD ranks the state as 46 th worst among other states.  Costs for adequate law enforcement and management could be substantial. It may not be possible to pass on all the costs to business via a “late night license fee.”  Avoiding the “closing hour crush” may not happen…it may just happen 1-2 hours later…and people may be drunker.  Conflicts with residents may increase over noise and nuisance issues and impact plans to attract more inner-city residents.

17  Limit types of venues likely to be a problem: large capacity, stand-up, high percentage of alcohol sales. Seek to balance with restaurants, coffee shops, theaters.  Eliminate high volume serving practices: drinking games, high volume drink specials.  Eliminate drink specials after midnight (when most of the problems occur) and encourage food sales.  Consider requirements for additional security, alcohol monitors.  Develop tools to rapidly require corrective action when problems occur.

18  Extension of hours has the potential for creating substantial public safety issues.  Such extension for one small part of a city is much more manageable than extension for an entire state, county or city.  Extension of hours along with other deregulation measures will increase risk of problems.  Management is likely to be costly in terms of additional police resources. Some costs may be mitigated by charging special license fees and requiring additional security.  A pilot project is advisable as theory is not the same as practice.

19  Website has educational tools: Monthly newsletter, educational pieces, PowerPoint presentations from conferences.  Full report, “The Dangers of Alcohol Deregulation: the United Kingdom Experience,” can be downloaded from website.  Issue Briefs for 2011 has simple explanations of alcohol regulatory issues as well as citations for research and more information.

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