Gwinnett Police Departments Conduct Compliance Checks to Keep Youth Safe

Underage drinking prevention continues to be a priority in Gwinnett County and Georgia. In 2024, 10.56% of 12th-grade students and 4.24% of 8th-grade students in Gwinnett County reported having one or more drinks of alcohol in the past 30 days.

The good news is the percentage of 30 day alcohol use has decreased from where it was several years ago, and we owe that to the collaborative prevention efforts here in the county. One of the collaborative efforts that we want to highlight is with our partners at the Gwinnett County Police Department.

We all know how important it is to prevent alcohol sales to those under 21. Our partners at local police departments do, too. That’s why they conduct compliance checks – to make sure retailers follow current laws and ordinances, check IDs and don’t sell alcohol to teens and underage young adults. Underage decoys visit local restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores and drug stores to attempt to buy alcohol. If the employee does not ask for and check their ID and sells or serves alcohol to the decoy, then the employee receives a citation from the police officer or detective.

Conducting compliance checks is an effective environmental change strategy because it helps decrease the probability of employees selling alcohol to those under 21 by keeping the retailers in check.  It also increases the chances of employees checking IDs, so they do not receive a citation. This is known as the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) change strategy, Changing Consequences.

From October 2023 to March 2024, the Gwinnett County Police Department made a total of 189 visits to alcohol retailers in unincorporated Gwinnett to ensure that safe alcohol sales are occurring. Of those, 40 sold to the underage decoy (79% compliance rate).

Because of the commitment of our local police department to conduct these checks on a regular basis, the county is able to maintain a higher compliance rate overall. This means that the majority of retailers in Gwinnett County are following underage alcohol sales laws, checking IDs and helping reduce retail access of alcohol to those under 21.

In appreciation of our partnership and the important work being done to prevent underage drinking, we give our thanks to the dedicated detectives at the Gwinnett County Police Department. Their hard work ensures the success of our underage drinking prevention efforts. Through this initiative, we are able to work together to make a positive impact in Gwinnett, encouraging safer and healthier communities.

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