Spring 2011 • Issue 22


APIS Announces Update of Alcohol Policy Information

The latest update of State-by-State alcohol policies was released recently by NIAAA’s Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS). There were 34 policy changes across the APIS topics during the calendar year 2009 reporting period, including the following:

Underage Drinking:

Photo of Doctor Kenneth Warren and Doctor Gyongi Szabo

  • Three States (Arkansas, Tennessee, and Utah) enacted new laws that prohibit hosting underage drinking parties.
  • Four States revised their “use/lose” laws, which penalize drivers under 21 for using alcohol by suspending their driving privileges. Illinois and Utah made license sanctions mandatory; Maryland added consumption as a use/lose violation. Arkansas enacted a discretionary use/lose law for those under the age of 18.

Alcohol Control Systems:

  • Alabama, Montana, and West Virginia enacted legislation that changed the hours when beer with high alcohol content can be sold in State-run and licensed establishments.

Health Insurance: Losses Due to Intoxication (UPPL)

  • Ohio and North Dakota enacted Uniform Policy Provision laws that prohibit insurers from denying payment of insurance benefits to policyholders who are injured while intoxicated.

Health Insurance Parity for Alcohol-Related Treatment

  • Eight States revised their Health Insurance Parity laws for alcohol treatment. Five of these States (Kansas, Massachusetts, Washington, South Carolina, and West Virginia) enhanced their laws by adding mandates on various elements of coverage. Nevada and Arkansas eliminated their “must cover” and “must offer” mandates, respectively, and Alaska shifted from a “must cover” to “must offer” mandate.

Visit the APIS Web site for details on these and other important policy developments across the country: http://www.alcoholpolicy.niaaa.nih.gov/. Many of these policy changes are consistent with the goals of reducing underage drinking and its consequences and lowering the rates of alcohol-related death and injury overall.

This project has been funded with Federal support from NIAAA under Contract No. HHSN267200800007C.