Area beer and tobacco vendors have been tested during the past few weeks to ensure minors don't have access to liquor or cigarettes.
According to Margaret Black with the OSU Prevention Programs, compliance checks were made with a number of convenience stores and retailers just before the holidays. They were looking for clerks who would sell alcohol to minors.
She said 15 stores were checked with three of them, one in Okmulgee and two in Henryetta selling 3.2 beer to an undercover customer that was under the legal age to buy liquor.
"An undercover officer was present when the minor made the purchase," she said.
The Okmulgee County Consortium also conducted a similar effort with eight vendors tested and one in Sapulpa actually selling tobacco to a minor.
Consortium head Ashley Tatum said the test was called a "friendly reward reminder Visit," and claims it is becoming more successful each year. "When this program started several years ago we had over 33 percent of vendors selling to students, now we generally have less than 10 percent that sell to underage customers."
She pointed out that "Vendors have good reason to appreciate the friendly visits.  If law enforcement was involved the clerk is looking at a ticket that could be as much as $500.  The Alcohol Beverage Laws Enforcement (ABLE) is also testing vendors, but they don't leave friendly cards, they leave tickets."
The alcohol compliance checks were coordinated by the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Henryetta Police Department, and the Beggs Police Department.
"Adults within Okmulgee County, including alcohol vendors, need to set a clear precedent that alcohol use by minors will not be accepted," Black said. "By not allowing youth to have alcohol it is helping to prevent addiction and other substance abuse issues.  If you are a vendor, who would like to be trained, or have staff trained, in Responsible Beverage Sales and Service (RBSS), or if you a community member who would like to help prevent substance abuse in Okmulgee County, contact DFC Coordinator, Aaron Graffman or RPC Director, Margaret Black at (918)756-1248."