Vice Squad
Friday, June 29, 2007
Local Alcohol Prohibitions in Alaska, Australia

Many Alaskan native communities in rural Alaska are officially dry. Indeed, they are drier than the US was during Prohibition (and drier than typical dry counties or municipalities elsewhere in the current US), as they have outlawed possession of alcohol. And these prohibitions might even "work". Researcher Paul Gruenewald (as quoted in this article), notes that “Although national prohibitions on alcohol are generally ineffective, and in terms of crime, counter-productive, local prohibitions can be very effective in reducing harms related to alcohol.” But even these prohibitions are being enforced with an extraordinary reliance upon informants, as a recent item in's Alaska Digest indicates:
FAIRBANKS - A tip line set up to try and bust bootleggers is heightening the police presence at Fairbanks International Airport, where alcohol and drugs are sneaked into rural Alaska aboard small planes.

The toll-free line was established in April. So far, airport police have received 40 tips.

The toll-free line, (877) TIP4FIA, is credited with nearly doubling the number of contacts officers make with passengers suspected of carrying illegal cargo. Three ounces of cocaine; up to eight gallons of beer and whiskey; and a pound and a half of marijuana have been confiscated, Officer Robert Dickerson said.

Australia has instituted some alcohol bans in Aboriginal areas, but recently the Prime Minister announced plans to take things much further in the federally-controlled Northern Territory. Specifically, alcohol and hard-core porn are both slated to be banned.

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