OKLAHOMA COUNTY (KFOR) – Oklahoma County investigators released shocking numbers of the amount of local businesses selling alcohol to minors as part of their 2 Much 2 Lose initiative. The Sheriff’s Office said one in four businesses sold alcoholic drinks to the deputy’s decoys.
“A lot of people think that as teenagers, drinking is sort of a rite of passage. There’s a reason that we’re doing this. This is dangerous,” said Aaron Brilbeck, Public Information Officer with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.
Oklahoma County sheriff’s deputies, with the 2 Much 2 Lose imitative, hunted down businesses selling alcohol to minors.
Brilbeck said investigators sent decoys, who were 18 to 20 years old, into random liquor or convenience stores and restaurants around the county. Brilbeck said the decoys looked their age.
“They’re instructed if they’re asked what their age is, give their real age,” said Brilbeck. “Now, given that, you’d be surprised by how many people would look at the drivers license, even though it says under 21, handed it back and still served them.”
Out of the 400 establishments chosen, 111 of them sold alcohol to the decoys. That’s one in four businesses now facing misdemeanor charges.
“The numbers are – pardon the pun – the numbers are staggering,” said Brilbeck.
The Sheriff’s Office said in Oklahoma that 20 percent of alcohol sold goes to minors.
“In Oklahoma, 40 percent of high schoolers regularly say that they use alcohol,” said Brilbeck. “And 11 percent of high school students report that they’ve driven drunk in the past 30 days.”
Nationally, the Sheriff’s Office said 10.5 percent of all high school students say they’ll have more than 10 drinks at any given setting; 5.6 percent say they’ll have 15 or more drinks at one time.
“That’s binge drinking among teenagers,” said Brilbeck.
That’s why deputies said they’re continuing with the 2 Much 2 Lose program, hoping it will send a message to businesses.
“Take the time. Make sure that you train your employees,” he said. “Yeah, you’re making a couple of bucks selling a beer, but you could be ending somebody’s life.”
The Sheriff’s Office said if an employee sold to the decoy they were written a ticket on the spot. However, if an employee didn’t sell to the minor, they were given a certificate they can proudly display. Brilbeck said a majority of the businesses offer the employee a bonus for that.