The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board
With the repeal of national prohibition in 1933, through the 21st amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the regulation of beverage alcohol reverted to the individual states. The failure of prohibition had shown that the nation was too large and too diverse to accept the single standard of sobriety - especially one of total abstinence. Only four states voted to remain dry, at least for a time. Twenty-nine states chose to resume the legal sale of alcohol beverages through licensed private sellers and are known as License States. Seventeen (later eighteen) opted to control the sale of alcohol beverages through state agencies. These are known as Control States.
Pennsylvania became a Control State. The enabling legislation refers to the “…protection of the public welfare, health, peace and morals of the people of the Commonwealth…” as a purpose of the act establishing
the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB). (Section 1-104 of the Liquor Code [47 P.S. § 1-104]) There are similar statements in many other state Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) legislation mandates.
The mission of the PLCB is:
- To provide regulation over the beverage alcohol industry in Pennsylvania in a fair and consistent manner.
- To provide the best service to its customers through modern, convenient outlets, superior product selection and competitive prices in a controlled environment.
- To provide factual information on alcohol and its effects through a comprehensive alcohol education program.
Since it was founded in 1934, the PLCB has discouraged alcohol abuse through responsible service in its Wine and Spirits Shoppes and through its regulatory and licensing practices. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the PLCB began actively working with schools, licensees, prevention professionals and others to provide alcohol education programs and materials.
In 1994, the PLCB formalized its commitment to preventing alcohol abuse by establishing the Bureau of Alcohol Education. The Bureau is dedicated to the prevention of alcohol abuse and the elimination of underage drinking. The mission of the Bureau of Alcohol Education is to:
- Deliver a “zero tolerance” message to all citizens under the age of 21.
- Encourage responsibility and moderation for adults who choose to drink.
- Promote responsible alcohol beverage service and practices among licensees and persons that serve alcoholic beverages in Pennsylvania.
The Governor and many state agencies have recognized the PLCB as a leader in preventing alcohol-related problems within Pennsylvania. The PLCB has received national recognition as a leader and model Alcohol Beverage Control agency in education and prevention. Local community groups, colleges, youth, law enforcement and others look to the PLCB for technical assistance and resources. The resources and assistance provided by the PLCB have served as a catalyst, bringing together many organizations that want to stop alcohol-related problems. The PLCB has also gained a reputation as an agency that bases its programs on principles and techniques that have been proven to be effective through scientific research.
Efforts in education, research and community assistance have been possible because the PLCB appropriates part of its budget to alcohol education. Since the Bureau of Alcohol Education was established in 1994, the PLCB has greatly increased its involvement in the prevention of alcohol-related problems, with special emphasis on underage drinking and dangerous college drinking. Some of the current initiatives of the PLCB are briefly listed below.
- Pennsylvanians Against Under-age Drinking (PAUD) – This is a statewide coalition dedicated to reducing underage drinking by changing the environment in Pennsylvania that allows and promotes underage drinking. The coalition is comprised of over 300 groups and individuals and has representation from every state agency involved in underage drinking prevention. The PLCB helped to establish this coalition and acts as the lead agency for this effort, which has received support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through a grant entitled, “Reducing Underage Drinking through Community and State Coalitions”. The grant must specifically work to reduce underage drinking problems through environmental change.
- L.C. Bee – The PLCB alcohol education mascot, L.C. Bee, visits schools to help children say "no" to underage drinking. Coloring books, bookmarks, puppets and other materials featuring L.C. Bee reinforce the no-use message and other appropriate messages for children in grades K-3. During 1999, L.C. Bee made appearances at 59 schools and events, reaching approximately 32,000 children.
- Lesson Plan – Because L.C. Bee cannot personally visit every school, a video and lesson plan are available to supplement a school's existing alcohol education curriculum.
- Alcohol Awareness Poster Contest – This is a contest that challenges students in grades K-12 to create a poster about the facts and consequences of underage drinking. Winning entries and students are honored in Harrisburg, the state capitol. The PLCB reproduces their designs and disseminates them to schools and the public throughout the year. In the 1999 program, over 1500 posters were submitted, and thousands more participate at the local level. Eighty-two posters, representing 37 counties, were selected for higher recognition.
- Displays – Displays have been developed by the PLCB to educate and demonstrate the consequences of underage drinking to high school and middle school students. In 1999, displays were set up at events and conferences, reaching approximately one million people.
- Alcohol Education Web Site – A portion of the PLCB web site is dedicated solely to providing facts, statistics, local resources, laws, games and materials to educate and prevent underage drinking.
- Prevention Materials – The PLCB has developed and disseminates alcohol education materials. During 1999, over 3 million pieces of literature and other materials were distributed. Over 170 different items (including brochures, posters, stickers, pencils, etc.) are available, most of which are printed in-house. Large numbers of materials are supplied to the Pennsylvania Department of Health Research & Information Clearinghouse
- Public Service Campaigns – The PLCB uses various media, including television, radio, out-door and print to raise awareness about alcohol issues. Traditionally, a spring campaign focuses on underage drinking among youth and a winter campaign on impaired driving and youth.
- High School Journalism Contest – Students write news, feature stories and editorials about how underage drinking affects their school and community. Top entries are reproduced for statewide distribution and featured on the web site.
- In the Public Interest Newsletter – The newsletter features alcohol education news from within Pennsylvania and across the nation. Over 9,000 interested persons and professionals receive this quarterly newsletter.
- Cops in Shops® – The PLCB has coordinated efforts and training with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement to provide Cops in Shops“ in 42 counties across Pennsylvania. This effort is a cooperative project with beverage alcohol retailers and police to deter underage attempts to purchase alcohol illegally and adults from purchasing for minors.
- Responsible Alcohol Management Program (RAMP) – RAMP trains beverage alcohol licensees and servers on responsible service, including detection of false IDs, prevention of underage drinking, prevention of serving visibly intoxicated patrons and developing designated driver programs. The program is free to licensees and is done on-site.
- Techniques for Effective Alcohol Management (TEAM) – TEAM focuses on providing training and technical assistance to large venues and stadiums on appropriate policy and procedure to prevent and deal with alcohol-related problems. The PLCB is working with professional sports teams in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
- Electronic Driver's License Scanning – The PLCB pioneered technology that reads the Pennsylvania Driver's License magnetic stripe to help licensees detect fake IDs and prevent attempts to purchase alcohol by minors. As a result, this technology has become a method of ID detection throughout the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration awarded a grant to evaluate the effectiveness of this technology in Pennsylvania. This project was a co-operative endeavor involving three agencies – the PLCB, the Traffic Injury Research Foundation, and CommStar, developer of the scanner.
- Licensee Seminars – The PLCB conducts annual regional seminars for licensees in locations throughout Pennsylvania to inform and educate licensees on issues including underage drinking prevention.
- Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws Grant Program – The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, through the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency awarded a two-year grant to the PLCB to pilot five comprehensive community models in Pennsylvania to address underage drinking. The communities are Erie, Pottsville, Reading, Monessen and Doylestown. Each of these communities has created coalitions to increase enforcement and work on education and public policy as it relates to underage drinking. These communities will serve as models for similar projects in the future. The title of this grant is “Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws.”
- Project Sticker Shock – Students in Erie County generated the idea for this program. The PLCB developed a sticker for use by beer distributors to inform customers of the consequences of providing alcohol to minors. Students work with the distributors to place stickers on cases of beer. The program was piloted in five Pennsylvania communities. After a successful pilot program, sticker shock was implemented statewide. (See CD-ROM – Appendix W)
- The Bloomsburg Initiative – The PLCB worked with Bloomsburg University and the town of Bloomsburg to create one of the earliest models of a campus-community coalition to address dangerous and underage college drinking. The coalition developed and implemented a campus-community plan that has been credited with reducing alcohol-related crime and incidents. This project was made possible through a grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The project title is “State Alcohol Beverage Control Agency’s Approach to Underage Drinking Problems.”
- PLCB and Penn State University Partnership for Prevention – The PLCB and the State University have engaged in a four-year commitment to address dangerous and underage drinking on all its campuses.
- College of Communications Media Project – The PLCB worked with the Penn State University College of Communication’s students and faculty to research, develop, and implement several media messages aimed at college students about alcohol.
- College Mini-Grant Program – The PLCB, with the Governor's authorization, offers mini-grants to institutions of higher education that wish to create campus-community coalitions to comprehensively address dangerous and underage drinking. Thus far, grants have been awarded to 52 colleges/universities and four college consortiums.
- Pennsylvania Pilot Project – The PLCB is partnering with the Pennsylvania State Police, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement to pilot a project with nine colleges. Each college was awarded a grant to enhance enforcement efforts. The PLCB is facilitating the creation of campus-community coalitions that will address alcohol-related problems at these institutions.
- Statewide College Initiative – The PLCB is spearheading an effort that includes a partnership with the Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities (PACU) to create a statewide college alcohol coalition and increase statewide activities and provide assistance to institutions and their surrounding communities. This project has been chosen as one of seven projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education to address this issue on a statewide basis.
- U. S. Department of Education, Higher Education Center (HEC) for Alcohol, Other Drug and Violence Prevention Training and Technical Assistance
– The PLCB has contracted with the HEC for three years to provide extensive training and technical assistance to Pennsylvania institutions of higher education. Over 50 institutions have received training and technical assistance to date. The PLCB was chosen to co-sponsor the U.S. Department of Education’s National Meeting on Alcohol, Other Drug and Violence Prevention in Higher Education in 2000 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
A Power Point presentation overview of PLCB projects is accompanying this manual in the form of a CD-ROM.
(See CD-ROM – Appendix X)
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