Citation and Arrest of Youth for Purchase and Possession of Alcohol: The Role of the OJJDP Enforceing Underage Drinking Laws Program

Mark Wolfson, Wake Forest Univ. School of Medicine
Daniel Zaccaro, Wake Forest Univ., School of Medicine
John S. Preisser, University of North Carolina
Anshu Shrestha, Wake Forest Univ., School of Medicine

Youth alcohol use is a critical criminal justice, health, and social problem in the United States. The Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) Program was initiated in 1998. This program, which is administered by the U.S. Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, provides financial support and technical assistance to the states to enforce underage drinking laws and prevent underage drinking. This paper will discuss how the EUDL program has impacted formal sanctioning of youth for alcohol use, and the extent to which the EUDL program has led to increases in the level of enforcement of laws prohibiting the purchase or possession of alcohol by persons under the age of 21. In addition, the authors discuss the program's impact on (1) the perceptions of youth (age 17-21) about the probability of experiencing formal or informal sanctions for purchase or possession of alcohol, and (2) the prevalence of youth experiencing these sanctions. Data are from annual telephone surveys conducted in 1999 and 2000 of youth and local law enforcement agencies (N- 154 in 1999 and in 2000) in 104 study communities. The implications of these findings for the EUDL program and for trends in handling of status offenses are discussed.

(Return to Program Resources)

Updated 05/20/2006