New Underage Drinking Data

Underage drinking is extremely dangerous as it poses a threat to the minor, their surroundings, their loved ones and society as a whole. Alcohol use by young people is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors.

The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services sponsors a voluntary survey called Oklahoma Prevention Needs Assessment (OPNA), this is administered through schools to 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th graders every even year. OPNA assesses the who, what, when, where, how and how often regarding substance use among minors. It also captures the environmental factors that contribute to substance use and abuse (i.e. availability of alcohol or drugs in their community, family conflict, community law and norms, academic failure, family attachment, etc). The results from this survey help local prevention agencies, coalitions and decision makers strengthen community strategies to decrease the prevalence of substance abuse in local communities.

In 2014, 6th, 8th, 10th and 12th graders reported mostly getting there alcohol from home with or without parental permission, someone 21 and older or someone under the age of 21. The access of alcohol through “social sources” (i.e. parents, relatives, friends, adults) is a reoccurring issue in which local law enforcement agencies seek to decrease. Oklahoma Social Host law puts a shared responsibility on adults and minors who provide a place for persons under the age of 21 to drink. First offense violators faces fines up to $500, depending on municipality. Repeat offenders face a felony offense and higher fines. If a minor is injured or their death results from alcohol consumption, the social host violator automatically faces felony charges and more.

In OPNA’s 2014 report, percentage of youth in Oklahoma County using alcohol in the past 30 days:
• 12 percent of 6th graders
• 16 percent of 8th graders
• 31 percent of 10th graders
• 42 percent of 12th graders
The bad news: use of alcohol in the past 30 days among 6th graders has steadily increased since 2010. For all other grade levels there has been a decrease in alcohol use compared to 2010 and 2012 OPNA results. It is important for both teens and adults to know the idea that “everyone is doing it” is a myth. The fact that the majority of youth aren’t drinking is good news because this age group is more likely to be binge drinkers than chronic drinkers. Binge drinking is defined as 4 or more drinks for women, 5 or drinks for men within 2 hours. These episodes of high alcohol consumption can lead to memory loss and learning deficiencies as the brain activity slows down.

Binge drinking leads to a lack of judgement because the brain is heavily impaired. The decision to drink and drive or ride with someone who has been drinking and driving drinking and driving or riding with someone who has been drinking. 6th and 10th graders had an increase in riding with some who has been drinking since 2012. 8th graders rates decreased in riding with someone who has been drinking. 12th graders rates decreased in both drinking and driving and riding with someone who has been drinking.

Remember regardless if the hosts provides the alcohol or not, if they “host they stand to lose the most”. If we decrease their social availability, we can decrease the consumption of alcohol among youth, the consequences associated and prevent future use among current non-drinkers. It is illegal to provide a place for a minor to consume alcohol, so let’s help officers enforce the law by reporting any parties with underage attendees or noise disturbances in your neighborhood to the local authorities. If you have suspicion of an adult or minor providing a place to facilitate underage drinking, please call 9-1-1. With your help we can and will put a stop to underage drinking in Oklahoma Countystop-underage-drinking-sidebar


Clerk With A History of Selling Alcohol to Minors

Waiting at his post, the liquor store clerk looks up to acknowledge his new customer. Deserting the sharp strokes of winter mist, a local officer walks into the store on the N.E. side of OKC. As he senselessly looks at beverages, he discretely watches as a young boy grabs a liter of vodka and heads to the front counter. Out of uniform, the officer heads in the boy’s direction.

Placing the vodka on the counter, the store clerk scans the bottle and asks for ID. Looking back and forth from the ID to the boy, the boy to the ID, “how old are you?” The customer honestly replies, “I’m 18.” “Well, you know, cops send kids like you in here trying to bust us. I’ve been caught before and man, had to pay a lot of money.” He pauses, as if thinking about the consequences he faced before.


Forsaking his gut feeling, “Alright, it’ll be $15.02.” The young shopper hands him a twenty, and as the merchant gives him his change, the boy immediately places it on the counter and heads towards the exit– without the vodka, without the money.

The young boy actually doesn’t want the vodka. Working as a decoy on an alcohol compliance sting, his expectations were to be turned down, especially after confirming his actual age. As he heads to wait safely in the police car, he motions to the other undercover officers that the clerk made the sale.

The officer approaches the counter and places his badge before the clerk. Having heard the entire ordeal, he asks the man how old the boy was. Looking as if he’d been punched in the stomach, the clerk scrambles to explain what happened, but no words could justify his actions. “You’ve been busted for this before, how much did you pay?” “I paid $1,000.” “Well, seeing how this is your second time, you’re looking at paying $5,000. This store even more. And because you didn’t learn the first time and have been blatantly selling alcohol to minors, I’m going to make sure you face jail time.” After a lecture and citation, the cops and decoy leave and head on to the next store.

acc dec

This is the clerk’s 2nd getting “busted” violating the law, but think of the countless other times he’s likely sold liquor or beer to minors in that community? 12 stores were visited in 73117—this is only 1 of 4 cases in which the store clerk proceeded with the sale of alcohol after checking ID and/or asking for the decoy’s age. That is one-third of stores illegally selling alcohol to minors.

Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office, in partnership with Eagle Ridge Institute, are routinely checking for store compliance, enforcing the law and educating those serving and selling alcohol in the OKC metro area. These operations are important to the community because “alcohol in the hands of minors is dangerous as underage drinking is related to crime, violence, sexual assault, poisonings, injury and car wrecks and engaging in other risky behaviors.”

It is important to report any store, restaurant, merchant and/or business in your community that sells or serves alcohol to minors. You can do so by contacting your local law enforcement via the non-emergency telephone number or using the OKC Crime Stoppers TEXT-A-TIP 405-415-5666, all reports are confidential. If you sell or serve alcohol, do so responsibly by regularly checking ID and declining sales to minors.

“It our job as officers and as a community to do whatever we can to protect our children and make our communities safer.”

 child with alcohol

Fiscal Agency: Eagle Ridge Institute Funded by: SAMHSA, CSAP, ODMHSAS

601 N.E. 63rd St., OKC, OK 73105, 405-840-1359,

Gov’t says fewer drivers are drinking, but more use drugs

WASHINGTON (AP) — The number of drivers on the road with alcohol in their systems has declined by nearly one-third since 2007, but there has been a large increase in drivers using marijuana and other illegal drugs, a government report released Friday found.

The report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the share of drivers who test positive for alcohol has declined by more than three-quarters since the agency first began conducting roadside surveys in 1973.

But the latest survey, conducted in 2013 and 2014, also found that 22 percent of drivers tested positive for at least one drug that could affect safety. That includes illegal drugs as well as prescription and over-the-counter medications.

The anonymous surveys have been conducted five times over the last 40 years. They gather data in dozens of locations across the country from drivers who agree to participate.

Mark Rosekind, head of the…

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“Heroin deaths increased tenfold in Oklahoma”

The number of heroin deaths increased tenfold during a recent five-year period,according to a recently updated state Health Department report.

Oklahoma’s heroin deaths increased from three deaths in 2007 to 29 in 2012.


The report notes, in previous years, heroin deaths might have been underestimated and misclassified as morphine.

“Heroin metabolizes completely into morphine, so it is possible deaths could be misclassified, especially if there is no evidence of heroin use at the scene, and the heroin has already completely metabolized to morphine by the time the decedent’s lab samples are taken,” Claire Nguyen, an epidemiologist at the state Health Department, said in an email.

The increase in deaths could be due to both more heroin usage and better reporting, Nguyen said.

Nguyen, one of the report’s authors, said when she reviews reports from the medical examiner’s office, if morphine is listed…

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Oklahoma ranks No. 11 in alcohol poisoning deaths (NEWSOK)

Oklahoma saw an average of 37 residents die from alcohol poisoning per year from 2010-12, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows.

.ok alcohol rank

Oklahoma had the 11th-highest rate of alcohol poisoning deaths from 2010-12, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analysis released Tuesday.

The state saw an average of 37 residents die from alcohol poisoning per year from 2010-12, the study shows. That left the state with a rate of 12.6 alcohol poisoning deaths per million people age 15 and older.

Health leaders say it might seem like a small number, but the data give a glimpse into a much larger problem that Oklahoma faces in addressing alcohol abuse.

“This report is looking at only alcohol poisonings, so these are people who consumed so much alcohol that they died as a result of that particular consumption,” said Terri White, the state’s mental health and substance…

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Youth sells alcohol to fellow minor

A bit of a chilly night, she heads inside with butterflies in her stomach. It was the first time she had done this and was unsure what to expect. *ding* The store clerk looks up, she knows to head straight to the back where the beer is chilling in the cooler. She picks up a case and nervously approaches the counter, in hopes that he doesn’t make the sale.


Walking around, meaninglessly glancing at snacks, Lieutenant Dan Stow watches as a young girl grabs a twelve-pack of Bud Light and heads to make a purchase. He is out of uniform, so he heads to stand behind her, in hopes that the clerk obeys the law and declines the sale.

Wearing his high school hoodie, the store clerk, as instructed by management, checks the girl’s state ID. Looking back and forth from the id to the girl, the girl to the id, “how old are you?” She honestly replies, “I’m 17.” The 16 year old clerk begins explaining how the store recently was busted for illegally selling alcohol to minors and they are now facing a huge fine. Yet he proceeds with the sale anyway, “I can only do this for you this time.” She hands him the twenty, he gives her the change and she immediately places it on the counter and heads towards the exit without the beer or money.

She actually doesn’t want the beer. Working as a decoy for on an alcohol compliance sting, she expected to be turned down, especially on her first visit. She is disappointed that the young clerk made the sale, even when it was clear she was underage. As she heads to wait safely in the police car, she motions that he made the sale; the other undercover officers head in.

acc dec

Lt. Stow approaches the clerk, after the decoy exits the store, and asks how old if he knew how old the girl was. The clerk, who spoke English while talking with the decoy, responds to the officer only in Spanish. Stow informs the clerk that the girl, along with himself, are undercover performing routine checks across the metro, to ensure stores and merchants are obeying state law and not selling or serving alcohol to minors. After a thirty minute lecture from all three officers, the cops and decoys leave the property and carry on with the operation.

Because the clerk violated the law, he was charged with a misdemeanor with fines up to $500. Store management was also informed of the sale. This was the only case (out of 10 visits) held on the evening of December 28th where a sale was made.

Local officers, in partnership with Eagle Ridge Institute, are out checking for law compliance, enforcing the law and educating those serving and selling alcohol in the OKC metro area. These operations are important to the community because “alcohol in the hands of minors is dangerous as underage drinking is related to crime, violence, sexual assault, poisonings, injury and car wrecks and engaging in other risky behaviors,” Lieutenant Jason Yingling, lead officer of the alcohol compliance operation.

As a community member, it is important to report any store, restaurant, merchant and/or business that sells or serves alcohol to minors. You can do so by contacting your local law enforcement via the non-emergency telephone number. If you sell or serve alcohol, do so responsibly by regularly checking ID and declining sales to minors.


“It our job as officers and as a community to do whatever we can to protect our children and make our communities safer,” Lt. Yingling.

Link to the story:

Storefront Beautification- You can make a difference!


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tobacco marketing
DID YOU KNOW: The tobacco industry spends an estimated $8.8 billion nationwide on advertising and marketing campaigns geared toward gaining new customers. In Oklahoma alone, the tobacco industry spent $160.3 million dollars on advertising and marketing. In 2005, the alcohol industry reported spending $2 billion dollars on advertising using multiple media outlets. In a ploy to reach new younger customers, the industries encourage store owners to display advertisements on the inside and outside of their stores. Many owners receive bonuses from the distributors for displaying various advertisements throughout the store. These bonuses result in copious amounts of ads, signs, and banners distastefully displayed in the storefront windows of locally owned stores; often times, these stores are in violation of Oklahoma City municipal regulations.

Want to know an easy way to report a local store that’s in violation from YOUR PHONE?!

1. Download “okcgov” app in smartphone Play Store, and follow the steps to download an app.
2. Click on “okcgov” app
3. Select “Report”
4. Tap under “Category” and select “Illegally Placed Signs”.
5. Under Summary (title) type “illegal placed ads in storefront”.
6. Under Description type: Describe type(s) of illegal placed ads such as: “ad on pole”, “ad tie to
pole”, “ad is moving”, “too many ads in storefront, cannot see inside”, “ad placed above 6 feet”, “ad
on fence”, and other violations not mentioned.
7. Select camera or Gallery to include photo of storefront with report” (make sure photo shows
under “Photo” category.
8. Click “Send Report” and you done:-)


Local Officers Going Undercover to Uncover Sales to Minors


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In 2013, there were 36 alcohol related car crashes in Oklahoma City where the driver was underage. Although the law forbids minors under the age of 21 to possess or purchase alcohol, youth continue to gain access to alcohol. Minors are cautioned to delay consuming alcohol until they are 21 because they react differently to it than adults due to their brains still developing.  Teenagers get drunk twice as fast as adults, and although they drink less often than adults, when they so, they drink more (often binge drinking) because they do not recognize when to stop.2

Oklahoma County police officers are strengthening law enforcement on alcohol sales to minors by conducting Alcohol Compliance Checks.  In conjunction with a local agency, law enforcement seeks to limit minors’ access to alcohol, by ensuring Oklahoma County merchants are abiding by the law and not selling alcohol to minors. By limiting youth’s access, we limit their use and are able to make our roads and communities safer from the dangers of underage drinking.

At the end of November, Oklahoma County Sherriff officers conducted a combine 30 visits to convenient stores, liquor stores and supermarkets under agreement with Eagle Ridge Institute. Two youth participants went out on each operation, and they were positively identified as 17, under the legal age of 21.

On November 22, 2014, out of the 16 visits, 4 illegal sales of beer or alcohol were made by a store clerk. 3 misdemeanor charges were filed and a felony charge of illegal selling of liquor to a minor were filed. On November 29, 2014, of the 14 visits, 3 illegal sales of beer were made by a store clerk. 3 misdemeanor “out-of-custody charges” were filed for Illegal sale of low-point beer to a minor. One of the sales was conducted by a minor store clerk.

During the holidays 2 to 3 times more people die in alcohol related crashes, and 40% of traffic fatalities involve a driver who is impaired by alcohol.3 This holiday season, we can lower these rates by reducing underage drinking and driving. If you know of a store selling alcohol to minors, please call an officer at (405) 869-2500 or contact a prevention specialist of Eagle Ridge Institute at (405) 463-7527, it will be confidential.


1Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, Crash Data Statistics, 2013.

2National Institutes of Health, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Statistics on Underage Drinking

3National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Traffic Safety Facts, December 2007.

Many people who drink a lot aren’t alcoholics (NEWS 9)

Most people who drink to excess or binge drink are not alcoholics, a new U.S. government report says.

In fact, 90 percent of those who drink too much aren’t dependent on alcohol. But one in three adults drinks to excess, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“A lot of people mistakenly assume that people who drink too much are alcoholics,” said study co-author Dr. Robert Brewer, the leader of CDC’s alcohol program.

“The surprising finding was that nine out of 10 people who drink too much do not meet the diagnostic criteria for alcoholism,” he said.

Brewer said that some excessive drinkers are “self-medicating.”

“But a lot of it is a reflection of the fact that we live in a society where people get a lot of mixed messages about drinking,” he said. “A lot of people have been led to believe that drinking, and often…

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Prescription Drug Safety This Holiday Season


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The lights are hung, the air is filled with cheer; that must mean one thing, the holidays are here! Families are heading in, new memories you’ll create, but there’s some things you must do before you celebrate. Are your meds currently lying, waiting in an unsecure place or accessible shelves? These “curious candies” pose as opportunities for teenagers and are dangerous for our little elves. The thieves are out at night searching for jewelry, guns, money and toys. But they want your RX drugs too, to sell to men, women, and young girls and boys. So protect your family and home these holidays and throughout the year too.  Safeguard your RX drugs, here’s some things you must do:

  • Monitor: Know what medications you have in your home and check them regularly. Do not keep unused or expired medications.
  • Secure Your Medications: Keep your medications in a secure location that is not accessible by youth or adult visitors, such as a RX drug lock box or safe.
  • Dispose Properly of Your Unused Medications: Use proper disposal procedures for your medications. Read the disposal instructions the come with your medication or ask your health care providers.

To find a 24/7 medication disposal site near you, visit!

Eagle Ridge Institute encourages you to learn more about the dangers of prescription drugs, ways you can prevent RX drug misuse and abuse and much more. Prescription drug safety isn’t a Choice, it is a Responsibility.