Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco Protects Spring Breakers
March 12, 2008
Tallahassee - The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) will begin Spring Break enforcement activities across the state today. This year, increased enforcement presence will be focused in Panama City Beach and the surrounding areas, including Destin. Panama City Beach is the top spring break destination in the United States and will be hosting several MTV Spring Break events and broadcasts. There will also be Spring Break operations occurring in Daytona Beach and Miami, two other popular destinations. Throughout the month of March, ABT agents will ensure retailer compliance with alcoholic beverage laws in an effort to prevent underage persons from obtaining alcohol.
“Beginning this week, thousands of students will flock to Florida’s beautiful beaches, and it is our duty to do all we can to provide a safe environment,” said Interim Secretary Chuck Drago. “Through retailer compliance and education, we hope to have a safe Spring Break 2008 and keep the students coming back to Florida’s beaches.”
In 2003, stores, hotels and restaurants in Panama City Beach saw $170 million in economic benefit from Spring Break. The Spring Break season is an important part of the economic engine that drives many of Florida’s beach communities. Providing an environment that encourages public safety is an important factor in keeping visitors coming back each year. ABT partners with local law enforcement and other state agencies to encourage compliance with laws relating to alcohol and tobacco possession.
Leading up to Spring Break, ABT devoted more resources than ever to prevention efforts. Agents from around the state have been working in conjunction with local law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups to facilitate vendor training and to educate retailers and students on the dangers of underage drinking and the consequences for the illegal sale and possession of alcoholic beverages.
This year, Spring Break efforts are focused on proactive education, training and high-visibility law enforcement to enhance public safety by reducing the sale, possession and consumption of alcohol to and by underage persons. ABT Special Agents in uniform will patrol on foot with local law enforcement officers and will be seen on the streets, beaches, hotel grounds and licensed premises. In addition, ABT agents will attend special events, including MTV's taping in Panama City Beach, concerts and offshore party boats. Operations will continue through the end of March.
The mission of ABT is to keep alcohol and tobacco out of the hands of underage persons, to ensure that licensed establishments are in compliance with the laws and rules regulating the industry in Florida, and to collect taxes and fees related to these industries.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The Department licenses nearly one million businesses and professionals ranging from real estate agents, veterinarians, and accountants to contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com.