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Alcohol Sales to Youth: Data from Rural Communities Within the Cherokee Nation

Abstract

Access to alcohol among individuals under 21 years of age continues to be a public health concern with approximately 5000 youth deaths attributable to alcohol each year (US Department of Health and Human Services 2007). To date, there is no research on youth access to alcohol from commercial sources within rural communities with large populations of Native American families. We evaluated commercial access to alcohol by underage-appearing female confederates in 4 rural towns within the Cherokee Nation, a non-reservation tribal jurisdiction that includes a high proportion of Native Americans embedded within a predominately White population. Alcohol purchase attempts were conducted approximately every 4 weeks on 10 occasions for a total of 997 alcohol purchase attempts. In addition to purchase attempt outcome, we collected data on characteristics of the outlets and clerks. Alcohol was sold to confederates without use of age identification on 23 % of all purchase attempts. Across repeated attempts, 76 % of outlets sold alcohol to a confederate at least once. Males and younger clerks were more likely to sell alcohol to the confederates. Grocery stores and gas stations were more likely to sell alcohol to the confederate than liquor stores, but this effect was no longer significant once seller age was accounted for in a multivariable model. Three out of 4 outlets sold alcohol to young-appearing buyers at least once across repeated attempts. Results reinforce the continuing need for regular enforcement of laws against selling alcohol to minors.

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Acknowledgments

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, with co-funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under Award Number 5R01AA02069 (PI, Kelli A. Komro). We also acknowledge generous support from the Cherokee Nation and the University of Florida Institute for Child Health Policy. Finally, we thank Jessica Douthitt for her excellent management and dedication to excellence in the supervision of the monthly alcohol purchase attempts, and for each of the confederate buyers who participated in this study. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the views of the NIH, the University of Florida, or the Cherokee Nation.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Sarah D. Lynne-Landsman.

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Lynne-Landsman, S.D., Kominsky, T.K., Livingston, M.D. et al. Alcohol Sales to Youth: Data from Rural Communities Within the Cherokee Nation. Prev Sci 17, 32–39 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11121-015-0579-2

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Keywords

  • Alcohol
  • Purchase attempts
  • Compliance checks
  • Underage drinking
  • Adolescents
  • Native Americans