One of the main contributors to underage alcohol use anywhere is availability. When the prevention staff from Gateway to Prevention and Recovery in Shawnee contract each year with the Department of Mental Health and Substance abuse Services, their main funder, they commit to making sure that local alcohol retailers are not selling alcohol to minors. The way they check is by partnering with the ABLE commission in towns around their catchment area (Pottawatomie, Lincoln, Okfuskee and Seminole Counties) to do alcohol compliance checks. They simply send in a minor to buy an alcoholic beverage using his or her own identification --usually a driver’s license. The store is never “tricked” by using a fake ID or by using a minor who looks over 21 years of age. If the store sells alcohol to the minor, they are immediately ticketed and encouraged to attend a free Responsible Beverage Sales and Service (RBSS) training put on by the Gateway staff.

Last month, the ABLE commission visited the town of Shawnee and checked 25 twenty-five alcohol retailers, restaurants and bars and out of those twenty-five, 22 did NOT sell and only three did. Those stores that did not sell to minors took the time to check the ID of the minor trying to buy and turned him/her down. They should be applauded for doing the right thing.

A few of the stores who helped make alcohol less available to our youth were:

Bricktown Brewery on N. Kickapoo St.

Domino Store on Kickapoo St. and Kickapoo Spur

Spirits Wine and Liquor on N. Harrison St.

Uncorked Wine and Spirits on N. Kickapoo St.

Dollar General Store on W. Ayre St.

“If you get a chance to thank the managers or employees of any of these stores for not selling alcohol to minors, please do so. These are good community members who deserve our business,” says Abby Flood, RPC Director at Gateway. She noted that the one retailer who sold alcohol to the minor has agreed to attend the next RBSS training scheduled in the near future.

For more information on Alcohol Compliance Checks and upcoming RBSS trainings,

please contact Abby Flood at Gateway to Prevention and Recovery, 405-275-3391 or aflood@gatewaytoprevention.org.