Licensed alcohol establishments that serve alcohol on their premises (i.e., bars and restaurants) directly influence the blood alcohol content (BAC) levels of their customers through their serving practices. Excessive alcohol consumption at licensed establishments leads to high BAC levels, which in turn leads to increased impairment and alcohol-related problems such as traffic crashes and violence. Professional service staff who provide alcohol to individuals who show obvious signs of intoxication (i.e., overservice) contribute to these problems. Overservice of alcohol is prohibited by law in 48 states but little research has been conducted on enforcement of overservice laws. Law enforcement agencies are motivated to enforce alcohol service laws but have limited resources and want guidance on which strategies are effective. We propose to conduct an evaluation of an innovative overservice enforcement strategy currently being used in communities in Minnesota as well as other U.S. states?place of last drink initiatives (POLD). In a POLD initiative, when responding to an alcohol-related incident (e.g., driving under the influence, assault), law enforcement agents ask about and record the place where an intoxicated individual last drank alcohol. These data are regularly monitored to identify patterns of overservice of alcohol. Establishments that are regularly identified as a POLD source are visited by law enforcement, are required to attend training, and/or receive a penalty (e.g., license suspension). This may lead to fewer sales to obviously intoxicated customers, and ultimately, reductions in alcohol-related problems. We propose a three-year study to assess the following aims: (1) evaluate effects of POLD enforcement on alcohol-related crime in POLD vs. comparison communities, (2) assess likelihood of overservice of alcohol at alcohol establishments in POLD vs. comparison communities, (3) assess attitudes/perceptions and policies/practices pertaining to responsible service and overservice enforcement among manager and servers of alcohol establishments in POLD vs. comparison communities. Findings will provide guidance for law enforcement agencies attempting to reduce overservice of alcohol and alcohol-related problems and inform future randomized control trials.
Irresponsible alcohol service at bars and restaurants increases patron intoxication levels and related problems such as violent and non-violent crime. Regular monitoring and enforcement of serving practices puts pressure on bars and restaurants to serve alcohol responsibly. We will evaluate whether a unique enforcement intervention developed by law enforcement agencies improves serving practices in bars and restaurants and helps reduce crime.