Academic journal article Alcohol Research

The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) and Policy Research at NIAAA

Academic journal article Alcohol Research

The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) and Policy Research at NIAAA

Article excerpt

Public policies have the potential to prevent the adverse consequences of alcohol consumption on a larger scale than any other category of interventions. However, measuring the effects of specific policies on alcohol-related behaviors and health outcomes is difficult and presents a variety of daunting challenges. One important challenge stems from the non-experimental nature of most policy research, which makes it difficult to distinguish between causal relationships and noncausal associations. Another key challenge arises from the complexity of alcohol-related behaviors and outcomes and the wide range of potential effects that specific policy interventions may have on different groups and actors in various contexts. A third important challenge involves the difficulty in accurately characterizing the policies to be studied, which can be attributed largely to the arcane legal framework of statutes and regulations in which policies are created. This challenge is magnified by the enormous variety of alcohol-related public policies that have been adopted at all levels of government and the myriad variations in specific provisions that are embedded in the laws and regulations. Valid analysis of policy effects depends on surmounting all of these challenges and accurately characterizing policies and discerning the true causal effects of those policies on well-specified outcomes of interest.

The Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) ( was created by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as a tool to facilitate research on the effects and effectiveness of alcohol-related public policies by providing authoritative, detailed, and comparable information on alcohol-related policies at the State and Federal levels in the United States. APIS data is based on primary legal research on the statutes and regulations through which policies are established. APIS provides detailed coverage for 35 specific policy topics organized in eight categories:

Underage Drinking

* Possession/Consumption/Internal Possession

* Purchase

* Furnishing

* Age of Server-On-Premises

* Age of Seller-Off-Premises

* Use/Lose: Driving Privileges

* Hosting Underage Drinking Parties

* False Identification

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) Limits

* Adult Drivers

* Drivers Under 21

* Recreational Boaters


* Open Container

* Vehicular Insurance: Losses Attributed to Intoxication


* Beer Taxes

* Wine Taxes

* Distilled Spirits Taxes

* Sparkling Wine Taxes

* Flavored Alcoholic Beverages Taxes

Retail Sales

* Keg Registration

* Beverage Service Training

* Sunday Sales

Alcohol Control Systems

* Beer (Retail)

* Beer (Wholesale)

* Wine (Retail)

* Wine (Wholesale)

* Distilled Spirits (Retail)

* Distilled Spirits (Wholesale)

Pregnancy and Alcohol

* Warning Signs: Drinking During Pregnancy

* Criminal Prosecution

* Civil Commitment

* Priority Treatment

* Child Abuse/Neglect

* Reporting Requirements

Health Care Services and Financing

* Health Insurance: Losses Attributed to

Intoxication ("UPPL")

* Health Insurance Parity

The coverage period for most topics begins January 1, 1998, and extends through January 1, 2010, with an update to January 1, 2011, to be posted in the coming months. For each policy topic, APIS provides detailed comparison tables showing both up-to-date policy information and policy changes over time, with exact effective dates for changes that took effect during the coverage period. APIS also provides descriptive overviews, maps and charts, summaries of relevant Federal law, legal citations, and detailed explanatory notes, as well as State profiles of the various laws that address underage drinking in each State. …

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