Retailers in West Virginia soon will receive materials that will help them train employees and comply with state law (WV State Code 16-9A-2) that prohibits the sale of tobacco products to youth under the age of 18.
Funded with Federal Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant funds administered by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities, the See Red? retailer education materials include point of sale print material to remind employees to always ask for ID when selling tobacco products. A red background on a license or non-operator ID is a red flag to carefully look at the date of birth.
Federally-mandated compliance inspections will be implemented by the West Virginia State Police and Substance Abuse Prevention Services grantees throughout the state in order to monitor compliance. Failure to comply would mean the loss of $3.5 million in substance abuse prevention and treatment funds for West Virginia. Any employee who sells tobacco products to a youth compliance inspector will be cited on the spot by a West Virginia State Trooper. The store owner and/or corporation will also be cited.
In the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia, Youth Services System Inc. serves as the Substance Abuse Prevention Services (SAPS) lead organization. Funding supports the efforts of the Northern Panhandle Prevention Consortium which unites community substance abuse prevention coalitions in the five counties of the Northern Panhandle to collectively strengthen local efforts. Consortium membership consists of Brooke and Hancock Advocates for Substance Abuse Prevention, the Ohio County Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Marshall County Partners in Prevention and the Wetzel County Coalition Against Drug Abuse. Each coalition will assist in the coordination of Synar Compliance Inspections with the West Virginia State Police.
Locally, the Advocates for Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition (ASAP) works to collaboratively prevent and reduce substance abuse in Brooke and Hancock counties.
In 2013, 100 percent of Hancock County retailers and 66.7 percent of Brooke County retailers complied with the law reducing the availability of tobacco products to youth under the age of 18.
The coalition would like to thank: local detachments of the West Virginia State Police; 7-Eleven stores in Chester, Newell and Weirton; Gumby's in Chester; Turleys' Station LLC in New Manchester; Country Corners in New Cumberland; Granato's Imported Foods & Deli, Pennway Pharmacy, Quik-Mart & More, Rite Aid and Walmart, all in Weirton; Trading Post, Family Dollar, Rite Aid, Kroger, all in Wellsburg; and Family Dollar and Sheetz in Follansbee for their commitment to reducing substance abuse among the youth in Brooke and Hancock counties.
Coordinator for SAPS
Brooke Hancock Family Resource Network