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01.2008

Massachusetts Beverage Business

archivedAtPressTime

GETTING TOUGH in NEW HAMPSHIRE

Article By: MBB

WITH ITS LARGE ultra-discount state liquor stores, New Hampshire draws shoppers in from near and far. But if you're underage, buying in the Live Free or Die state is anything but a breeze. A national law enforcement group says the Bureau of Enforcement in the New Hampshire Liquor Commission is leading the charge in the war on underage drinking, illegal gambling and drug use. The bureau was singled out for its work during a national meeting of the Annual Leadership Conference for Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws with the Liquor Law Enforcement Agency of the Year Award. The honor gave kudos to the bureau's Ripple Effect program and acknowledged its "multifaceted" approach, accomplished through statewide compliance checks and other investigations, according to a prepared release from the state. In addition, the award recognized the bureau's influence on compliance rates: While nationwide, fewer than 4O percent of stores and other businesses were found to be following laws regulating liquor and tobacco sales, in New Hampshire the compliance rate was 85 percent during the first year of the program. "We're extremely proud to be recognized for the hard work the Bureau of Enforcement is doing to enforce our state's underage drinking laws," Bureau Chief Eddie Edwards said in a statement. "Our success is only possible through our cooperative partnership with the New Hampshire departments of Highway Safety, Education and Corrections and with the US Attorney and Attorney General's offices." The Ripple Effect program, launched in the spring of 2OO6, includes an educational component on drunk driving aimed at adolescents. The program brought students face-to-face with the potentially devastating consequences of drunk driving. There's nothing like truly realizing your own mortality to get scared straight. If New Hampshire's efforts are enough to really deter underage drinkers then the rest of the country should be using their system as a prototype.

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