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For Immediate Release: 4/10/2013
Training for Alcohol Servers to be Held Thursday in Bethesda; Class Helps Prevent Sales of Alcohol to those Underage

The Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control (DLC), in partnership with the Montgomery County Police Department and the Bethesda Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, will hold a free ALERT class to help curb sales of alcohol to those under 21 years of age. The class will be held on Thursday, April 11 at 2 p.m. at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Service Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Room A, Bethesda. DLC developed the Alcohol Law Education and Regulatory Training (ALERT) program to educate staff at facilities that serve or sell alcohol about what to look for to avoid selling alcohol to those who are under the age of 21.

ALERT classes are open to all Montgomery County liquor licensees and their staff. Those interested in attending are asked to register in advance. To register or get more information, contact the DLC Outreach Office at 240-777-1989 or dlc@montgomerycountymd.gov.

To prevent alcohol sales to those under 21, DLC and the Montgomery County Police Department conduct 400 compliance checks a year. During a compliance check, local trained volunteers, who are under the age of 20, enter licensed establishments and stores and attempt to purchase alcohol. The volunteers use their own state-issued vertical drivers licenses (ID). Those 21 and older have a horizontal drivers license, while underage teen drivers receive vertical drivers licenses. The volunteers follow a strict protocol and are not allowed to have facial hair, wear excessive makeup, hats or talk on the phone while making a purchase.

Recent alcohol compliance checks have revealed that one in four businesses sell or serve alcohol to a teen. In about a third of the sales, a server asked for and viewed the teen’s vertical drivers license and still sold alcohol to the teen.

“The compliance rate has remained fairly steady within the last few years,” says DLC Division Chief Kathie Durbin. “We are continually striving for increased compliance. The Department is measured on the program’s pass rate.”

Through ALERT, alcohol sellers and servers are educated to ask for an ID of anyone who looks under 35 years old and use tools such as ID checking calendars. DLC prints and mails a free calendar annually to each licensed business that shows the cut-off date for purchasing alcohol. As part of the Liquor Board licensing hearing, prospective licensees are asked to describe the under 21 IDs and the Compliance Check program.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, in its Guide to Community Preventative Services, recommends compliance checks as an evidence-based strategy for preventing excessive alcohol consumption among youth.

“Compliance checks are known to prevent underage alcohol sales and that is a top priority for the Department,” says Durbin.

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Media Contact: Kathie Durbin, Division Chief of Licensure, Regulation and Education Kathie.durbin@montgomerycountymd.gov, 240-777-1917 (w), 240-372-1023 (cell)

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Release ID: 13-104

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