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Fears of Tainted Alcohol at Mexican Resorts Underscore Need for Effective Alcohol Regulation

Center for Alcohol Policy Study Explains How Regulations Prevent Counterfeit Alcohol in the U.S.

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – Recent news reports indicate that several tourists and families traveling to all-inclusive resorts in Mexico suspect they were given tainted alcohol, which in some cases resulted in death. The reports underscore a stark contrast between alcohol regulation in Mexico and the United States, where state-based alcohol regulation and a three-tiered system of distribution provides a clear chain of custody and guards against tainted alcohol products reaching consumers.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel pointed to a 2015 report from Mexico’s Tax Administration Service, which found that 43 percent of all the alcohol consumed in the nation is illegal, produced under unregulated circumstances resulting in potentially dangerous concoctions. The paper reported, “The national health authority in Mexico has seized more than 1.4 million gallons of adulterated alcohol since 2010 — not just from small local establishments, but from hotels and other entertainment areas, according to a 2017 report by the country’s Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks.”

A report by former Chief Counsel for the United States Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau Robert M. Tobiassen, “The ‘Fake Alcohol’ Situation in the United States: The Impact of Culture, Market Economics, and the Current Regulatory Systems,” explains why there are few incidents of fake alcohol products in the United States. The study describes “strong regulatory systems that police the production, importation, distribution and retail sales of alcohol beverages through independent parties” and the country’s “competitive marketplace that provides alcohol beverages at all price points.”

Center for Alcohol Policy Executive Director Michael Lashbrook said, “The state-based system of alcohol regulation implement in the United States following passage of the 21st Amendment has been extremely effective at supporting a competitive marketplace while at the same time promoting public safety. America does not experience large problems with bootlegging, counterfeit products or a black market, which were common during national Prohibition and have proven deadly in other parts of the world that lack an effective regulatory system for alcohol.”

Visit the Center for Alcohol Policy website to read the full report on counterfeit alcohol and watch a video about the origin of America’s state-based alcohol regulatory system.

A wide range of experts will come together to discuss current alcohol laws and challenges at the Center for Alcohol Policy’s 10th Annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference, taking place September 6-8, 2017, in Chicago.

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The Center for Alcohol Policy is a 501 (c)(3) organization whose mission is to educate policymakers, regulators and the public about alcohol, its uniqueness and regulation. By conducting sound and scientific-based research and implementing initiatives that will maintain the appropriate state-based regulation of alcohol, the Center promotes safe and responsible consumption, fights underage drinking and drunk driving and informs key entities about the effects of alcohol consumption. For more information, visit www.centerforalcoholpolicy.org or follow the Center on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlcoholPolicy.

Deadline Approaches for Fifth Annual Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award

Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award LogoALEXANDRIA, VA – The Center for Alcohol Policy is accepting nominations for the Fifth Annual Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award until July 21, 2017. The award will be presented at the Center’s 10th Annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference, September 6 – 8 at the Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile in Chicago, Illinois.

The award recognizes the work of alcohol regulators who oversee the alcohol industry and promote public safety. Any governmental agency or its employees working to promote and enforce alcohol laws and regulations are eligible for the award. A specific program that has achieved positive results or an individual within an agency going above and beyond the call of duty are examples of potential nominees.

“The Center for Alcohol Policy appreciates that alcohol regulators are on the front lines of many initiatives in the states aimed at keeping the alcohol industry properly regulated, promoting public health and safety and supporting a competitive business marketplace,” said Jerry Oliver, a Center Advisory Council member who has served as alcohol regulator in Arizona and as police chief in Pasadena, Richmond and Detroit. “This award highlights effective best practices that may serve as examples to alcohol regulators in other states.”

Nominations should provide information on how the nominee serves as an example to others in alcohol regulation. Consideration will be given to how the actions of this nominee are helpful to other agencies or employees, achieve desired results and engage or impact a broad coalition of stakeholders. Self-nominations are permitted, and letters of support are encouraged.

HOW TO NOMINATE: Nomination forms may be emailed to awards@centerforalcoholpolicy.org or mailed to: Center for Alcohol Policy, Attn: Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award; 1101 King St., Suite 600-A; Alexandria, VA 22314.

DEADLINE: The deadline for nominations is July 21, 2017, 5:30 p.m. EDT. Nominations postmarked/emailed after this deadline will not be considered.

AWARD: The Leadership in Alcohol Regulation Award recipient will be honored during the Center’s 10th Annual Alcohol Law and Policy Conference in Chicago, Illinois. The award recipient also may be eligible to receive complimentary registration and a speaking opportunity at a future Alcohol Law and Policy Conference.

For more information, please call (703) 519-3090 or email info@centerforalcoholpolicy.org.

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The Center for Alcohol Policy is a 501 c (3) organization whose mission is to educate policy makers, regulators and the public about alcohol, its uniqueness and regulation.  By conducting sound and scientific-based research and implementing initiatives that will maintain the appropriate state-based regulation of alcohol, the Center promotes safe and responsible consumption, fights underage drinking and drunk driving and informs key entities about the effects of alcohol consumption.  For more information, visit www.centerforalcoholpolicy.org or follow the Center on Twitter at www.twitter.com/AlcoholPolicy.


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Center for Alcohol Policy
1101 King Street Ste 600-A Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: (703) 519-3090 info@centerforalcoholpolicy.org