A RECENT STUDY DONE BY HARVARD SHOWS THAT WISCONSIN IS NUMBER ONE WHEN IT COMES TO BINGE DRINKING...SO SOME COUNTIES ARE TRYING TO COMBAT THIS PROBLEM.
LAW ENFOREMENT, TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL RETAILERS, AND COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENTS HAVE STARTED A PROGRAM CALLED "REALITY CHECK 21"
THE PROGRAM HAS MADE IT MORE DIFFICULT FOR MINORS TO PURCHASE TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL.
IF YOU'RE UNDER 21, BUYING ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO IN EAU CLAIRE COUNTY IS A LOT MORE DIFFICULT NOW BECUASE OF A PROGRAM CALLED REALITY CHECK 21.
Pamela Radcliff - "For the tobacco we train high shcool students, and for the alcohol we train 18-20 year olds with a law enforcement officer, and the health department staff and attempt to purchase alcohol and tobacco products at retail location."
OUT OF SEVENTY-FIVE RETAILERS TESTED LAST YEAR...ONLY ONE SOLD A SIX PACK OF BEER TO AN UNDER-COVER MINOR AND ONLY THREE LOCATIONS SOLD TOBACCO TO A MINOR.
EAU CLAIRE COUNTY ESTABLISHMENTS WENT FROM BEING 87 PERCENT IN COMPLIANCE OF THE UNDERAGE LAW IN 2003....TO 98 PERCENT COMPLIANCE LAST YEAR.
COOPERATION AMONG LAW ENFORCEMENT AS WELL AS RETAIL CLERKS AND BARTENDERS PLAY A KEY ROLE IN KEEPING MINORS FROM TOBACCO AND ALCOHOL.
Covill - "I think people take it much more seriously selling tobacco and alcohol to minors and there's in store penalties as well, so employees are more accurate in checking I.D.'s."
THIS IS BECAUSE MORE IS AT STAKE.
IF CAUGHT SELLING, YOU CAN EXPECT A FINE ANYWHERE FROM TWO-HUNDRED TO ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS.
THE STORE ITSELF CAN GET FINED ANYWHERE FROM FIFTY TO FIVE-HUNDRED DOLLARS AND LOSE ITS LIQUOR LICENSE.
Covill- "just to not sell.
THE PROGRAM ALSO HAS INCENTIVES FOR CLERKS NOT TO SELL. IF A CLERK REFUSES SALE TO AN UNDERCOVER MINOR, THEY GET GIFT CERTIFATES TO LOCAL RETAIL STORES IN THE AREA.
Radcliff - "We try not to make it look like such a penal system, we want to work with the, to have them do the right thing."
COUNTIES TAKING PART IN THE PROGRAM INCLUDE EAU CLAIRE, DUNN AND MILWAUKEE...WITH CHIPPEWA COUNTY EXPECTED TO JUMP ON BOARD SHORTLY.