April is Alcohol Awareness Month: Spotlight on minor decoy program

In observance of Alcohol Awareness Month, the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is highlighting its ongoing commitment to combating underage drinking through the Minor Decoy Program.

Established in the 1980s, the Minor Decoy Program allows ABC and local law enforcement agencies to utilize volunteers under 20 years of age as decoys to identify and combat illegal alcohol sales to minors at ABC-licensed premises.

“The use of minor decoys is a proven strategy in our ongoing efforts to protect our youth from the dangers of underage drinking and to ensure that alcohol is sold responsibly,” said ABC Director Joseph McCullough.

The overall violation rate for illegal sales of alcohol to minors at licensed premises declined from 23 percent in FY 2020-21 to 16 percent in FY 2022-23. This ongoing initiative is part of a broader effort to combat alcohol misuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control, alcohol results in approximately 178,000 deaths annually in the U.S.

Businesses found selling alcohol to minors face potential administrative penalties, including fines, license suspension or possible revocation.Funding for local Minor Decoy operations are provided by a grant from the department’s Alcohol Policing Partnership program and the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

About the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control is the agency of the government of the state of California charged with the regulation of alcoholic beverages. ABC’s mission is to provide the highest level of service and public safety to the people of California through licensing, education, and enforcement. ABC is a department of the Business, Consumer Services, and Housing Agency.