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Program sends actors to check liquor store compliance

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By The Staff

A local program has sent actors to liquor stores to determine whether the retailers are following state law.  

The Responsible Retailing Forum Prevention Program has been in effect for a few months in Las Vegas.

This project is not connected to law enforcement and is not meant to entrap establishments or staff — rather results are to be used as educational feedback for participating establishments, according to a press release.  

Preliminary results show that out of 16 participating retailers visited by adult actors, (individuals trained to pose as intoxicated customers) two sold liquor to such actors, while the other 14 did not, the release states.

The implications of these results, though preliminary, point first to a willingness to comply with the current law, which includes picture identification when purchasing liquor and refusing to sell to intoxicated individuals, officials said.

One clerk stated to an actor, “I’m sorry I can’t sell to you, you’ve had too much already.” In another situation, a manager refused to sell the actor liquor.

Willingness to sell alcohol to an actor implies that these establishments are not only at risk of losing their liquor licenses or incur monetary penalties, but also such willingness is sending the message to the community of indifference and disregard for individual lives and the message to youth that its OK to ignore the law.

The next step in the prevention program, Responsible Retailing Forum, is educational — for example, discussing the outcome of the actor’s interaction with alcohol establishments and their staff and reviewing policies and laws regarding the sale of alcohol.

Ayudantes Inc. is a nonprofit mental health agency that has been in service to the community of northern New Mexico for 28 years. In 2007, Ayudantes Inc received funding from the state Department of Health’s Office of Substance Abuse Prevention to develop a prevention program focusing on underage drinking and adult binge drinking.

As part of this prevention program, responsible retailing was targeted because selling alcohol to minors and selling to intoxicated individual has legal implications, possesses long-term health issues and contributes to DWIs, according to the press release.