Bartenders and liquor store clerks hold a powerful, unique position:

Give people what they want and protect them from overdoing it.

By Jennifer Kimber, Prevention Specialist 

Anyone who sells or serves alcohol furnishes a desired service, and they also create the environment for low-risk drinking to take place. So, how can we help sellers and servers succeed? We can make sure businesses have access and encouragement to attend a Responsible Beverage Server (RBS) Training, because their success affects us all.

Prevention specialists work with law enforcement to offer RBS trainings in each county twice a year. At a training, alcohol retailers and their employees can ask questions about sales or liability issues. They also learn the harms of underage drinking and are equipped to prevent it. (Alcohol is still the most commonly used and abused drug in the United States among youth, according to the World Health Organization, and that very much includes youth in Northeast Iowa.)

Along with learning tips for properly checking IDs, trainees build service skills and confidence in a way that profits the company while protecting customers. It is impossible to look at someone and know their blood alcohol level, so servers are taught to look for behavioral cues. Signs—losing inhibitions, impaired judgment, slowed reactions, and loss of coordination—tell servers when guests are becoming intoxicated. Servers then learn different ways to “cut off” or offer alternatives to those patrons. Finally, they learn the importance of prevention through seeing the repercussions of scenarios, such as selling to a minor or over-serving a patron who gets behind the wheel.

Underage and excessive drinking costs the United States billions of dollars each year for loss in productivity, crime, health care, and other expenses, not to mention the lives this behavior harms or tragically takes. Responsible Beverage Server trainings empower retailers and their employees to positively influence guests’ drinking behavior.

If you serve or sell alcohol, or know someone who does, come to a free training or request to host one. Collectively reducing underage drinking and binge drinking will make our communities a healthier place for everyone to live.

Contact Jen, at jkimber@helpingservices.org, for training schedule or to request to host one.

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