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New Book Highlights Community Efforts to Prevent Harm

kids protesting for their own health and futureAlcohol control remains one of the most pressing public health projects of our time. It is complicated by a wealthy alcohol industry that wields tremendous social, political, and economic clout. Still, there have been some victories. Alcohol Justice Executive Director/CEO Bruce Lee Livingston and Advocacy Manager Director Jorge Castillo have been asked to recount a few of theirs in the new book, Preventing Alcohol-Related Problems: Evidence and Community-Based Initiatives, out now from APHA Press.

The book pairs research essays with case studies of successful prevention campaigns throughout the Unite States. To illustrate strategies to counter alcohol industry marketing, Livingston details Alcohol Justice’s campaign to remove alcohol ads from public transit in several cities in California. Castillo recounts a Friday Night Live campaign to restrict alcopop sales in Richmond, CA. Their chapters are alongside contributions from preeminent researchers and community advocates addressing critical topics in reducing harm including violence, service, age restrictions, disparities, and treatment, among others.

"Looking at everyone who pitched in to this book and all those successful projects across the country really reminds you that yes, local communities can win fights against Big Alcohol,” said Castillo.

Preventing Alcohol-Related Problems is available through the APHA store. Alcohol Justice contributors do not receive remuneration from sales of the book.

READ MORE about alcopops’ effects on youth.

READ MORE about how to get alcohol advertising off of public transit.


California ABC: Thou Shalt Not Mix Thy Weed and Alcohol

abcstar 72As the first year of legal marijuana sales in California gets under way, California Alcoholic Beverage Control has moved to quickly to clarify the ways in which alcohol and marijuana should mix-that is, not at all.

In a new industry advisory aimed at alcohol license holders, the department has provided a little early mythbusting around the idea of combined alcohol-marijuana business ventures. Although many would-be entrepreneurs leapt to declare intentions to create marijuana infused booze, or to conduct marijuana-and-wine pairings, these are strictly verboten under the law as currently constructed. As ABC reminds, the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulations and Safety Act prohibits stores from selling alcohol and/or tobacco in the same location as marijuana products.

That means no:

  • cannabis dispensing at bars
  • roving sellers at nightclubs
  • pairings of alcohol and marijuana
  • cannabis-infused beverages (since by definition, a cannabis-and-alcohol beverage would be cannabis sold in the same place as alcohol!)

In addition, ABC specifies that there can't be "pass-throughs," where a dispensary is at the back of a bar.

"These are common-sense regulations. Legal cannabis shouldn't be used just to tighten Big Alcohol's stranglehold on California," said Bruce Lee Livingston, CEO/Executive Director of Alcohol Justice.

For questions or more information, go to http://abc.ca.gov.

READ MORE about how California must not make the same mistakes with marijuana regulation as it did with alcohol.

A Personal Message from Alcohol Justice's Bruce Livingston

Dear Friends,

I've got two teenage boys, and I'm fighting Big Alcohol to protect them and all youth from the annual US catastrophe of over 88,000 alcohol-related deaths, and $250 billion in alcohol-related harm.

Everybody knows somebody whose life had been interrupted or ended by an alcohol-related cause.

At Alcohol Justice we fight for the victims and the survivors and most of all for prevention, but we need your participation to protect our families and communities.

In 2017, Alcohol Justice celebrated 30 years of fighting Big Alcohol and reducing alcohol-related harm.

Truth be told, it's really hard work and we don't always win. 

But in 2017, we fought hard and won some major battles:

  • We led a successful campaign to STOP a dangerous policy change that would have allowed alcohol sales until 4 a.m. at California bars, restaurants, and clubs (unfortunately it will be re-introduced in 2018)
  • We successfully concluded a four-year long campaign to close the exploitative Whiteclay liquor stores that caused generations of harm to the Oglala Lakota Native Americans of Pine Ridge Reservation
  • We helped to pass a bill that for the first time requires Responsible Beverage Service training for alcohol servers throughout California

Today I invite you to become a member and join these efforts in 2018.

Become a member, and when you do, I promise to involve you in important battles that can help save the lives of those you love.

From my family to yours, Happy Holidays!

Bruce Lee Livingston
Executive Director/CEO                                                                                                                       Alcohol Justice


Wyoming Leg Ponders Charge for Harm

With a bold plan to use alcohol taxes to fund recovery, the Cowboy State wears a white hat

 

Go get 'em, cowboy stateAs the federal government becomes obsessed with tax cuts—including ones specifically earmarked for Big Alcohol—the Wyoming state legislature is living up to the headstrong cowboy image.  The body’s Interim Joint Revenue Committee is exploring raising its alcohol excise taxes and state-collected alcohol fees, according to the Casper Star-Tribune. The Wyoming Legislative Service Office estimates the state would take in an additional $6.4 million, $1.4 million of which would be a Charge for Harm tax to fund alcohol recovery services.

 

The Charge for Harm element of the alcohol tax reform bill was proposed by Sen. Dave Kinskey (R-Sheridan). Sen. Kinskey had been researching ways to raise revenue in light of the state’s earnings shortfall due to declining fossil fuel revenue, and found that alcohol taxes had been proposed as far back as 1930 by the sitting Democratic Governor. Even today, generating revenue and paying for vital health enjoy bipartisan support in the state. The Star-Tribune reports the results of a recent poll in which 78% of Wyomingites supported raising alcohol taxes.

 

“Charge for Harm is such a simple concept—use the revenue from alcohol sales to reverse the harm of alcohol,” said Bruce Lee Livingston, CEO/Executive Director of Alcohol Justice. “But we still need decisive lawmakers like Sen. Kinskey to make it more than just a good idea.”

 

Although Wyoming could join the vanguard of states aggressively pursing Charge for Harm strategies, $1.4 million is from enough to address the full scope of alcohol-induced costs to the state. According to a study from the Wyoming Department of Health and the University of Wyoming, the state spent over $840 million in 2010 to address the harms from alcohol use.

 

READ MORE about Charge for Harm strategies.

 

READ MORE about how alcohol taxes can close state budget shortfalls.

 

USE the Alcohol Justice tax calculator to see how a few cents can make a huge difference for your state.