Alcohol Awareness


A story in the Penn State Daily Collegian reveals another drawback of Pennsylvania's liquor retailing monopoly: It turns out that the state's system for verifying the ages of alcohol buyers feeds a database that tracks booze purchases.

When a patron's ID is scanned to ensure authenticity at a liquor store, the person's purchase and identification information is added to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board's (PLCB) electronic database in Harrisburg, PLCB spokeswoman Molly McGowan said.

Police can retrieve the information for use in criminal cases, she said.

For example, an underage man died of alcohol poisoning at a party in Bloomsburg about two years ago, McGowan said. Going back through the electronic database, authorities were able to locate where the alcohol was purchased and find the person responsible for bringing it to the party, she said. The buyer was later criminally charged for his involvement, she added.

If the police need to keep tabs on tequila sales, maybe they should also track purchases of cigarettes and pornography, in case they too end up in the hands of minors. And what about all the other products that could be used to break the law? It might be best if retailers simply turned over all sales records to the police, who could then decide what was relevant to their work.

[Thanks to John Perna for the link.]