In 1993, the New Mexico Legislature passed the Alcohol Server Education Act mandating that every seller or server of alcoholic beverages in the state complete a program based on an approved curriculum and taught by approved schools and instructors. The overall purpose of the Act is to: (a) Enhance the professionalism of persons employed in the alcoholic beverage service industry, (b) Establish a program for servers, licensees and their lessees that examines the effects of alcohol, ways of recognizing problem drinkers, and the legal liabilities of serving and selling alcoholic beverages in the state of New Mexico, (c) reduce the number of persons who drive while under the influence of intoxicating liquor and mitigate the physical and property damage caused by that behavior, and (d) reduce the frequency of alcohol- related birth defects. The proposed research team collected a """"""""baseline"""""""" survey of serving practices in a sample of 151 on-premise, general-licensed establishments in Albuquerque and Gallup, New Mexico. Compliance with existing law and objectives of the mandated training was measured through the use of """"""""pseudo-patrons"""""""" who entered the sample bars and restaurants and attempted to order an alcoholic beverage while appearing to be highly intoxicated. The protocol has been widely adopted by studies of server training and responsible beverage service, and will be used in a one- year and in a two-year followup survey in the proposed evaluation. The goal of the proposed evaluation of the New Mexico Server Education Act is to 1) observe the impact of the law on serving practices within that state, and 2) identify those factors which facilitate or obstruct its ability to change that behavior and, in turn, reduce alcohol-related deaths and injuries. To that end, the design has two primary components: what we refer to as an """"""""observational"""""""" study of the law's impact, and an experimental component to explore the question of whether the law's impact may be enhanced through supplementary training (that focuses on skill development), through a more visible enforcement of the training law (as well as laws against serving intoxicated patrons), and a combination of the two (a basic 2X2 factorial design). We have, to use the popular term, a """"""""natural experiment"""""""" in which we may not only evaluate the effectiveness of the new law as it stands, but also """"""""probe"""""""" through specific program enhancements to see if the law has an even greater potential impact than one we would passively observe. The proposed project will collect both short-term and longer-term outcome data.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (SRCA (84))
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Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation
United States
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