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Alcohol – Excessive Consumption: Overservice Law Enforcement Initiatives


What the CPSTF Found

About The Systematic Review

The CPSTF finding is based on evidence from a systematic review of two studies (search period through October 2007).

The review was conducted on behalf of the CPSTF by a team of specialists in systematic review methods, and in research, practice, and policy related to preventing excessive alcohol consumption.

Summary of Results

Detailed results from the systematic review are available in the CPSTF Finding and Rationale Statement pdf icon [PDF - 153 KB].

The systematic review included two studies.

  • One study (with a greater intensity of enhanced enforcement) found substantial and statistically significant benefits of the overservice enforcement initiative on all of the outcomes assessed (Michigan). When compared with control settings
    • Service to individuals pretending to be intoxicated customers decreased 28.5%
    • People arrested for DUI who reported consuming their last drink in a bar or restaurant decreased 26.5%
  • The other study found inconsistent and statistically nonsignificant results for outcomes assessing overservice and alcohol-impaired driving (Washington state).
  • Overall, several results pointed in a comparable direction. The estimated effects on the most reliable health outcomes—those related to alcohol-impaired driving—showed beneficial effects in both studies.

Summary of Economic Evidence

An economic review of this intervention was not conducted because CPSTF did not have enough information to determine if the intervention works.


Applicability of this intervention across different settings and populations was not assessed because CPSTF did not have enough information to determine if the intervention works.

Evidence Gaps

The CPSTF identified several areas that have limited information. Additional research and evaluation could help answer the following questions and fill remaining gaps in the evidence base. What are evidence gaps?

The following outlines evidence gaps for dram shop liability and overservice law enforcement initiatives.

  • How effective is enhanced enforcement of overservice regulations in reducing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms?
  • What are barriers to effective enforcement?
  • What is the role of the media in publicizing enhanced enforcement?
  • What is the potential role of responsible beverage service training programs in reducing overservice and enhancing the effectiveness of enforcement? Multicomponent server intervention programs may prove benefıcial in decreasing excessive alcohol consumption and related harms in on-premises retail alcohol settings.
  • What are the best methods for identifying patrons who are intoxicated, underage, or both?
  • Are there other methods to avoiding overservice, such as counting drinks or spacing out the frequency of drink service with food or nonalcoholic drinks?
  • What is the economic value of enforcement?

Study Characteristics

  • Studies were conducted in Washington and Michigan.
  • Both studies provided information about efforts to raise awareness about the initiative and its enforcement.
  • The studies used pre–post designs, with concurrent comparisons.