For Law Enforcement

Protecting Maine's Citizens: Enforcement as a Prevention Tool

Maine Liquor Laws can help law enforcement agencies protect Maine citizens from problems related to high-risk drinking. Enforcement is a powerful prevention tool when it is used to:

  • Reduce underage access (by deterring furnishing/sales and confiscating alcohol before it gets consumed.)
  • Clearly communicate a community’s standards for acceptable behavior and provide meaningful consequences for violating these standards.
  • Focus on preventing high-risk behavior and take advantage of opportunities to intervene in harmful patterns of behavior.
  • Increase individuals’ understanding of their own risk by expressing specific & personal concern for high-risk behavior.
  • Engage parents as critical partners in influencing their children’s choices and empower them to address the problem directly and constructively with their kids.

Why should law enforcement be concerned about alcohol abuse?

Alcohol abuse remains one of the critical problems facing families, communities, and law enforcement departments in Maine. Alcohol is the drug of choice among both youth and adults in Maine, and is a factor in all of the leading causes of death for Maine citizens under 30 years old. A recent study of the costs of alcohol and drug abuse in Maine highlights the following staggering statistics.

In 2000:*

• There were 473 deaths in Maine directly caused by or attributable to alcohol abuse, including 46 deaths in alcohol-related car crashes. These early deaths resulted in an estimated 9,033 years of potential life lost.

• Approximately 2,280 arrests were made for assaults (aggravated, sexual,and other) that were directly related to alcohol abuse – about 30% of the total assaults for that year.

• Alcohol-related crime in Maine is estimated to have cost a total of $49.1 million.

* Maine Office of Substance Abuse, The Economic Costs of Alcohol and Drug Abuse in Maine, 2000. Published February 2004. Full Report | Executive Summary