The Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division (ABD) is joining other organizations across the country to observe April as Alcohol Awareness Month. Shannon Pogones, oversees the ABD’s training programs for retailers.
“This is the time of year when youth are typically out attempting to purchase more alcohol, having graduation parties, and spring break parties, and prom parties and after parties and things where alcohol is present,” Pogones says. The division sent out reminder letters to retailers on the issue.
“It went out to licensees — even restaurants and places that just have beer and wine permits — saying ‘hey’ prom and graduation are coming up more, just be aware that you may be seeing more of an increase of youth attempting to purchase in your area,” Pogones says. The letter also reminds the retailers of the online training ABD has created to teach employees how to avoid selling to minors.
“We also helped create a tool called I-ALERT which helps stores and on and off-premise locations make a policy for their establishment,” Pogones says. She says those policies allow them to decide if they are going to card everybody, or just people who look under 30, and then they can then give it to their employees and have everybody sign off on.
The ABD website also provides information for parents on how they can help prevent problems with alcohol. Pogones says simply being up to meet your child when they come home can be a deterrent.
“Communicate with other parents and school officials on where your child may be going and discuss the consequences that your child’s school may have around if they get caught possessing or consuming alcohol,” Pogones says. “Whether that my jeopardize your graduation or future sporting events or things like that and also just the consequences of the harm you may do to yourself and potentially others.”
Pogones says it’s important for parents to keep the lines of communication open about the dangers of alcohol, and that conversation can start before they reach high school age. Find out more at Iowaabd.com.