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Top 10% of Drinkers Consume More Than 50% of All Alcoholic Beverages 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 5:48:54 PM

Source: 24/7 Wall Street

By Paul Ausick

September 28, 2014

Alcohol consumption in the United States is not democratic. Among adults aged 18 and older, 30% don't drink any alcohol at all. Another 30% consumes less than one drink per week. But the top 10%, which represents about 24 million Americans, consumes nearly 74 drinks per week, or more than 10 per day.

If someone is having 10 drinks per day, it is almost a cinch that someone is an alcoholic or a "heavy drinker." If it weren't for the heaviest drinkers the alcoholic beverage industry's total sales would decimated.

The Washington Post cites the book "Paying the Tab" by Duke University professor of public policy Philip J. Cook:

One consequence is that the heaviest drinkers are of greatly disproportionate importance to the sales and profitability of the alcoholic-beverage industry. If the top decile somehow could be induced to curb their consumption level to that of the next lower group (the ninth decile), then total ethanol sales would fall by 60 percent.

What does that mean for some of the world's largest distillers, winemakers and brewers? Would Anheuser-Busch InBev S.A./N.V. (NYSE: BUD) still have a market cap of $180 billion if people who now consume 10 drinks a day cut back to around two drinks a day, the consumption level of the ninth decile? In 2013, Anheuser-Busch InBev posted total revenues of $43.2 billion and made a net profit of $16.5 billion.

SABMiller is the next largest alcoholic beverage maker, with a market cap of $89 billion. The company's 2013 revenues totaled $34.5 billion and pre-tax profits came in at $3.25 billion.

The two largest alcoholic beverage firms in the world are brewers and to make the top 10% of drinkers solely on beer consumption means a person would have to drink about 10 cans of beer a day. That's three cases of beer a week; cutting back to two cans of beer a week (the ninth decile) means that more than two-thirds of these companies' beer sales would be lost.

Diageo PLC (NYSE: DEO) is the largest distiller, with a market cap of around $72 billion and Brown-Forman Corp. (NYSE: BF-A) is the next largest with a market cap of nearly $19 billion. Constellation Brands Inc. (NYSE: STZ) sports a market cap of almost $17 billion on sales of beer, wine and spirits. Lost sales for these companies is a bit harder to figure, but following Professor Cook's formula, we may safely assume a loss of 60% of sales.

Two of these five companies do not pay any dividend, and Anheuser-Busch InBev's dividend yield is the best, at 3.7%, ahead of Diageo's 2.2% and Brown-Forman's 1.6%. Compare those to the top tobacco companies: Philip Morris International Inc. (NYSE: PM) pays a yield of 4.6% and Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) pays 4.7%.

Speaking of smoking, there are more smokers (42.1 million in 2012 according to the Centers for Disease Control) in the United States than there are heavy drinkers. Nearly half a million Americans, or 1,300 every day, die from the effects of smoking cigarettes. Tobacco use costs the U.S. about $289 billion a year in direct medical care and lost productivity.

The CDC reports that heavy drinking (defined as 15 or more drinks per week for men and eight or more for women) was responsible for about 88,000 deaths in 2006 and an economic cost of $223.5 billion. As a public health issue, heavy drinking is almost as costly as smoking.

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Think you drink a lot? This chart will tell you 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 5:42:13 PM

Source: Washington Post

By Christopher Ingraham

September 25

Do you drink a glass of wine with dinner every night? That puts you in the top 30 percent of American adults in terms of per-capita alcohol consumption. If you drink two glasses, that would put you in the top 20 percent.

But in order to break into the top 10 percent of American drinkers, you would need to drink more than two bottles of wine with every dinner. And you'd still be below-average among those top 10 percenters.

The top 10 percent of American drinkers - 24 million adults over age 18 - consume, on average, 74 alcoholic drinks per week. That works out to a little more than four-and-a-half 750 ml bottles of Jack Daniels, 18 bottles of wine, or three 24-can cases of beer. In one week.

Or, if you prefer, 10 drinks per day.

These figures come from Philip J. Cook's "Paying the Tab," an economically-minded examination of the costs and benefits of alcohol control in the U.S. Specifically, they're calculations made using the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) data.

I double-checked these figures with Cook, just to make sure I wasn't reading them wrong. "I agree that it's hard to imagine consuming 10 drinks a day," he told me. But, "there are a remarkable number of people who drink a couple of six packs a day, or a pint of whiskey."

As Cook notes in his book, the top 10 percent of drinkers account for well over half of the alcohol consumed in any given year. On the other hand, people in the bottom three deciles don't drink at all, and even the median consumption among those who do drink is just three beverages per week.

The shape of this usage curve isn't exactly unique. The Pareto Law states that "the top 20 percent of buyers for most any consumer product account for fully 80 percent of sales," according to Cook. The rule can be applied to everything from hair care products to X-Boxes.

But the consequences of the Pareto Law are different when it comes to industries like alcohol, tobacco, and now marijuana. If you consume 10+ drinks per day, for instance, you almost certainly have a drinking problem. But the beverage industry is heavily dependent on you for their profits.

"One consequence is that the heaviest drinkers are of greatly disproportionate importance to the sales and profitability of the alcoholic-beverage industry," he writes writes. "If the top decile somehow could be induced to curb their consumption level to that of the next lower group (the ninth decile), then total ethanol sales would fall by 60 percent." http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/25/think-you-drink-a-lot-this-chart-will-tell-you/

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Rising cigarette prices hit US spirits sales (Additional Coverage) 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 5:38:15 PM

Source: The Spirits Business by Amy Hopkins

25th September, 2014

The rising prices of cigarettes have dampened sales of spirits and beer, according to a new study on the relationship between smoking and drinking.

Looking at alcohol consumption in the US between 1980 and 2009, the study, published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, found that spirits and beer sales had dropped in states with high cigarette taxes and restrictions on where people can smoke.

States with the highest tax hikes saw a 26% decline in alcohol sales, excluding wine, compared to 5% in states with low tax increases.

A complete statewide ban on smoking in bars, restaurants and the workplace, compared to no restrictions, reduced per capita beer consumption by 4% and spirits consumption by 11%, researchers found.

They also claimed that for every 10% hike in cigarette prices, the number of people who smoke dropped by 2%.

However, cigarette prices did not affect the sales of wine in the period as researchers claim that wine drinkers are less likely to smoke.

"The big message is that some very good state tobacco policies have had public health implications that go beyond what was actually intended," said study author Melissa Krauss, a senior statistical data analyst at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

"In situations when smokers are drinking alcohol, it tends to trigger cravings for a cigarette. Some people even tend to smoke only when they drink, but not at any other time."

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How low will the NTSB go with legal blood alcohol limit?  

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 5:31:05 PM

Source: Al.com By Sarah Longwell

September 15, 2014

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is on a mission to lower the legal drunk driving limit to .05. For a 120 pound woman, that would spell jail time for having just one drink and then driving.

For those of us who work in the alcohol policy arena, it's déjà vu all over again.

Over a decade ago, public safety advocates convinced Congress and state lawmakers that lowering the legal limit from .1 to .08 percent blood alcohol concentration (BAC) would save 500-600 lives per year. But lowering the legal limit hasn't been the promised panacea to our nation's drunk driving woes-alcohol related fatalities still account for approximately 1/3 of all traffic deaths, a figure that hasn't budged since .08's passage.

There's an obvious reason why the move to .08 didn't have the life-saving impact that advocates hoped it would: most accidents don't happen between .08 and .10. And they certainly don't happen between .05 and .08. Rather, over 70 percent of alcohol-related fatalities are caused by drivers with a BAC limit of .15 or higher.

It's these high-BAC drunk drivers we must target with our laws if we want to take a serious bite out of the drunk driving problem. Only 1 percent of traffic fatalities are caused by drivers with BAC levels between .05 and .08, so by what twisted logic does it make sense to focus our efforts on those drivers?

The NTSB is the first federal traffic agency to officially endorse a .05 legal limit. The American Medical Association, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and other public health organizations already support a lower standard.

Interestingly, some of the other usual suspects haven't jumped on board. Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have decline to endorse the policy. At least for now.

But we know how quickly that tide can turn.

Just look at the .08 battle as reference. The NTSB officially endorsed .08 in 1982, only a year before Utah became the first state to adopt .08. (MADD was founded in 1980, just as the .08 battle began.) Many federal agencies weren't yet on board with lowering the limit, but with the NTSB's stamp of approval, lawmakers began proposing and slowly passing legislation to drop legal limits.

(Unsurprisingly, shortly after the .05 recommendation was announced by the NTSB, five states proposed bills to lower the limit.)

It wasn't until 1998 that Congress started offering states cash to lower their limits. That was the carrot, but the stick soon followed. In 2000, Congress passed a law heavily penalizing states that did not pass .08 by withholding highway funding. At that point, 19 states had .08 laws on the books. Once Congress threatened state budgets, it only took four years for the remaining states to fall in line and adopt .08.

And so .05 could follow a similar path, slowly gaining traction in a handful of states (Utah, again, may very well be first) before Congress decides to come off the sidelines just as it did back in 1998 and provide incentives to states willing to make the move.

It would certainly be a mistake if they did.

By nearly halving the legal limit we would create a new category of criminals who today are considered moderate and responsible drinkers. The field sobriety tests currently used to determine impairment by police would no longer be useful, because most drivers with a .05 BAC level wouldn't show any signs of being impaired. And our already crowded court system would be clogged with women who had little more than a single drink with dinner before driving home.

But that wouldn't be the worst of it.

Most depressingly, public safety advocates will have missed the point entirely, focused on a cohort of responsible drinkers posing little to no threat on the roadways while failing to devote resources to getting actual drunk drivers off our roads and making us all truly more safe. (Sarah Longwell is the managing director of the American Beverage Institute. She can be reached at longwell@abionline.org.)

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Study: Red Wine Prevents Cavities 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 5:27:05 PM

Source: CBS Philly

September 23, 2014

It might turn your teeth blue, but it turns out red wine actually prevents cavities.

A new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry claims the antioxidants in red wine can help eradicate bacteria and thus prevent tooth decay.

The researchers reportedly grew cultures with bacteria prevalent in certain dental diseases then dipped those cultures into different liquids including red wine, red wine sans alcohol, red wine spiked with grape seed extract and water containing 12% ethanol.

Apparently, red wine - both with and without alcohol - and wine with grape seed extract were the most effective at killing off the bacteria and thus, preventing dental decay.

Prevention breaks it down further, explaining that "brushing and fluoride rinses have limited effect, and many antimicrobial rinses can change the color of the gums, making it less likely people will continue to use them - which is why researchers continue to search for more appealing alternatives."

Interestingly enough, a recent study found eating cheese also prevents cavities, so feel free to indulge in some cheese with your vino - in moderation, of course!

To read more on the study, click here. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf5036096

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New Cardiology Study Cites Moderate Alcohol Consumption as a Healthy Lifestyle Behavior Associated with Reduced Heart Attack Risk  

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 5:22:41 PM

Source: DISCUS

September 23, 2014

Four out of five heart attacks may be prevented by following key healthy lifestyle behaviors including moderate alcohol consumption according to a new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. (American College of Cardiology Press Release)

According to the study of over 20,000 Swedish men, the five low-risk lifestyle behaviors were: having a healthy diet; no smoking; being physically active, having no abdominal fat and moderate alcohol consumption (10 to 30 g/day) approximately 1-2 standard drinks. There was no differentiation made between spirits, beer or wine.

The researchers found a clear reduction in risk for heart attack for each individual lifestyle factor the participants practiced. This reduction in risk corresponded to 18% for the healthy diet, 11% for moderate alcohol consumption, 36% for no smoking, 3% for being physically active and 12% for having a low abdominal circumference.

The study found that combining a low-risk diet together with moderate alcohol consumption led to an estimated 35 percent lower risk of heart attack compared to the high-risk group, those who practice none of the low-risk factors.

Men who combined the low-risk diet and moderate alcohol consumption with not smoking, being physically active and having a low amount of abdominal fat, had 86 percent lower risk.

This study echoes the 2011 study by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which concluded that moderate alcohol consumption is one of four healthy lifestyle behaviors that help people live longer. According to the CDC, the four lifestyle behaviors were: having never smoked, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and moderate alcohol consumption. The CDC researchers found that each lifestyle behavior was significant in reducing mortality, and found that the greatest benefit was when moderate alcohol consumption was included with the other three lifestyle behaviors.

The Distilled Spirits Council does not recommend that people drink alcohol for potential health benefits and has always encouraged those adults who choose to drink to do so responsibly and in moderation. Even drinking in moderation may pose health risks for some people and some individuals should not drink at all.

The Federal 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate drinking as consuming up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. The Guidelines define a standard drink as 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof (40% alcohol) distilled spirits, 5 fluid ounces of wine (12% alcohol), or 12 fluid ounces of regular beer (5% alcohol). Each of these standard drinks contains 0.6 fluid ounces of alcohol. For more information go to www.DrinkInModeration.org

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We Drink More Alcohol When We Exercise 

Wednesday, October 01, 2014 5:18:42 PM

Source: TIME Mandy Oaklander

Sept. 23, 2014

First we sweat, and then we swig: A new Northwestern Medicine study published in the journal Health Psychology finds that people tend to drink more alcohol on days they've exercised.

The study looked at 150 adults between the ages of 18-89 who used a smartphone app to record how much they exercised each day - and how much alcohol they drank for three weeks at different points of the year.

Previous studies have found that the more active among us are also the larger lushes. But this study didn't exactly confirm that. Instead, the stronger link occurred between exercise days and the number of drained glasses, with beer being the most popular post-workout alcoholic beverage. Both physical activity and alcohol intake increased Thursdays through Sundays. Even after the researchers controlled for the fact that people have more alcohol-related social events on the weekend, that many prefer to drink primarily on weekends, and that drinking patterns often differ by season, the association still stuck.

The scientists aren't sure why there's such a close link, but they have some ideas. "It could be that people who are more physically active on a given day have to use all their willpower and cognitive resources to get themselves to be active, and they don't have enough willpower left to resist the temptation of a drink at the end of the day," says David E. Conroy, lead study author and professor of preventive medicine and deputy director of the Center for Behavior and Health at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Other possible reasons: people proud of their workout might want to reward themselves for being good, socialize further over drinks, or even (mistakenly) view alcohol as a good way to replenish fluids, the study says. But other studies show that too much alcohol can negate some of the good that exercise does - in addition to adding calories after a hard-earned burnoff, alcohol might even impair muscle recovery.

If "dehydrate to rehydrate'" is your motivation to get to the gym, you're not alone. But it might be time to choose a different mantra.

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FTC Considers Challenge to Food Merger 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 5:48:32 PM

Sysco and US Foods Say Intense Competition Would Remain Their Marriage Source: WSJ Brent Kendall and Annie Gasparro Sept. 22, 2014

The Federal Trade Commission is considering a possible antitrust lawsuit to block the planned merger of Sysco Corp. SYY -1.08% and US Foods Inc., concerned that combining the nation's two biggest food suppliers to restaurants, schools and other institutions could threaten competition, according to people familiar with the matter.

The FTC, which has been investigating the merger for several months, is weighing other alternatives, such as requiring Sysco and US Foods to divest assets to competitors, these people said.

The commission hasn't yet decided whether to challenge the deal but a decision could come within weeks, these people said. The FTC in recent years has been relatively quiet on challenging mergers. Many big-name deals have landed instead at the Justice Department, which shares antitrust authority. The department last year filed lawsuits challenging major mergers in the airline and beer industries. Both cases ended with settlements before trial that allowed the deals to go forward.

Sysco announced plans in December to buy US Foods for $3.5 billion. Both companies buy food and other supplies like napkins and cutlery in bulk from manufacturers and sell it at a markup to restaurants, cafeterias and other food-service operators.

Sysco and US Foods, which combined would make up more than 25% of the $231 billion U.S. food-distribution industry, say the merger will help them cut costs, boost purchasing power and improve customer service.

But with the next largest competitor at one-fifth the size of the merged firm, some restaurant owners, food manufacturers and other stakeholders are worried the marriage would eliminate an important competitive dynamic in which Sysco and US Foods each serve as a check on the other's prices.

The companies have said the combined entity will remain subject to intense competition from the rest of the industry, which is largely fragmented among thousands of local and specialty distributors. Sysco also said it expects its market share to erode slightly as rivals poach customers during the integration.

A Sysco spokesman said the investigation remains on track, and the company still expects the merger to be completed by the end of the year. He referred to company comments last month in which Chief Financial Officer Chris Kreidler said Sysco continued to believe the merger "will benefit customers and help us become more efficient in an evolving and competitive marketplace."

A US Foods spokeswoman didn't immediately respond to requests for comment.

Sysco expects annual savings of at least $600 million after three-to-four years into the merger, from combining administrative, technology, purchasing and other operations. The company and other traditional distributors have struggled in recent years with declining profit margins, as higher commodity and transportation costs make it tough to beat the low prices of a growing sector of self-service wholesale food stores, such as Costco Wholesale Corp. and Restaurant Depot.

Sysco's fiscal 2014 earnings fell 6.1% to $932 million as higher costs outweighed revenue growth of 4.7% to $46.5 billion.

Critics of the deal say the national scope of Sysco and US Foods, as well as their range of product offerings, make them different from smaller distributors.

"Sure, there are little produce companies and meat companies that mirror US Foods and Sysco, but in terms of dry and frozen goods, no small distribution firm can compete," said Brian Shapiro, owner of Shapiro's Delicatessen in Indianapolis. Large, national restaurant chains like McDonald's Corp. can always buy directly from manufacturers if they're unhappy with Sysco or US Foods. "But for small- and medium-sized restaurants, this will mean fewer product choices and higher costs," he said.

Food manufacturers also have concerns, including a merged firm demanding lower prices and cutting back on the variety of products the two companies independently purchase now. Union representatives and some public-interest groups also have raised objections with the FTC.

"Sysco has a lot of power already. It can dictate terms to some of its biggest suppliers, and it already undercuts the prices of local distributors," said Mike Callicrate, owner of Ranch Foods Direct, a small meat supplier company in Colorado Springs, Colo. "Buying US Foods would give it the ability to effectively block smaller producers and distributors from getting their products into the market."

Both the FTC's bureau of competition and bureau of economics have been looking at the deal. A majority of the agency's five commissioners must agree upon any course of action. The agency, which has three Democratic commissioners and two Republicans, is known for bipartisan cooperation but the commissioners do sometimes disagree on the agency's approach.

An FTC spokesman declined to comment.

The Sysco-US Foods merger agreement allows for divestitures up to $2 billion of annual revenue in order to secure regulatory approval. Some critics believe the rivals would need to divest a larger pool of assets to address possible competitive harms.

Among the questions facing the FTC is whether competing food distributors in line to acquire divested assets from Sysco and US Foods would be strong enough to replace any loss of competition from the merger.

The next-largest competitor in the market is Performance Food Group Co. whose operations are focused most heavily in the Southeast and along the Eastern Seaboard. The company could have a lot riding on the FTC's review, as it is preparing for an initial public offering and could be in line to pick up assets from its larger rivals if the FTC seeks to force divestitures.

PFG expects to raise around $100 million from the IPO. PFG doesn't say in regulatory filings whether it might use some of those funds to buy parts of the combined Sysco-US Foods, but notes that it has done 12 acquisitions in the past six years and that acquisitions remain a key part of its strategy.

PFG declined to comment on the merger.

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Naperville Council OKs new liquor rules  

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 5:42:32 PM

BY HANK BECKMAN For Sun-Times Media September 16, 2014 10:56PM

Responding to incidents of over-drinking in recent years in the downtown district, Naperville’s City Council on Tuesday night voted to approve restrictions on liquor sale prices and require training for all security personnel at the bars.

The pricing plan will forbid specials that reduce drink prices by more than half.

The new training will require security staff to receive the same state-mandated Beverage Alcoholic Sellers and Servers Education Training now required for servers and employees of retail establishments that sell alcohol.

The City Council put off voting on other proposals regarding limiting drink size and certain restrictions concerning entrance to establishments serving alcohol.

“I feel that there is a problem,” Mayor A. George Pradel told the Council before a vote was taken. But he also said the decision would have to be made in a timely fashion, noting that the issue has been debated extensively.

Among the proposed changes are prohibiting entrance to establishments less than one hour before closing time, no giving away certain quantities of alcohol and no serving of shots of distilled spirits in the last hour before closing.

Concerns arose over unintended consequences and forcing one standard on the whole city when the problems being discussed are primarily in the downtown area.

The idea of not allowing entrance to a bar during its final hour of operation would put an unfair burden on drinking establishments in hotels, some said.

“We have guests that check in after midnight,” Dan Gustafson, of the Naperville Marriott Hotel, told the City Council.

Restrictions on the sizes of beer being served drew concern from some who serve craft beers. Ben Baggett of the World of Beer in Naperville said that higher-priced craft beer makes up a good portion of the inventory there, and that people who drink craft beer are not the type who cause fights.

James Bergeron, who owns Wise Boxer’s Pour House, said the only thing that special rules for downtown establishments might accomplish is to lead drinkers to head out to outlying establishments to drink more.

“That would be a nightmare,” he said.

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Bloodletting could be in store for Mississippi drivers at DUI checkpoints 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 5:23:05 PM

JUST A LITTLE BLOOD: No refusal DUI checkpoints, like those run in Mississippi, can result in a blood test for intoxicants if a sobriety test is refused. By Steve Wilson | Mississippi Watchdog

Vampire movies, books and TV series are all of the rage these days. Guess the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol wanted to get in on the act.

Over the long Labor Day weekend, the patrol ran a no-refusal DUI checkpoint in Oxford, home of the University of Mississippi. In a no-refusal checkpoint, a driver who refuses a sobriety test — either a breath test or a standard field sobriety test — could be compelled to undergo a blood test.

A judge is either on site or on call to rule on probable cause and can issue a warrant for the test. A certifiedphlebotomist is at the ready, and blood is drawn at the checkpoint.

According to state law, drivers in Mississippi give their “implied consent” to a blood or breath sample if an officer lawfully requests it. A search warrant becomes necessary if a driver refuses, and a first-time refusal results in a 90-day license suspension.

The Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol did not return repeated requests for comment.

Ronald Wright, a professor and associate dean for academic affairs at Wake Forest University School of Law, saysthe tactic is not in keeping with the spirit of the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and its prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures.

“State statutes might give the police certain authority in a traffic setting that they wouldn’t have in other settings,” Wright said. “One thing that worries me is typically a warrant is based on probable cause. Probable cause, in normal doctrine, cannot be based on refusal to cooperate. That’s typically treated as a refusal to give further evidence. We’re allowed to be uncooperative, and police are not supposed to draw any inferences from that.

“To the extent that a judge is issuing a normal warrant and then they’re using the fact someone says no as evidence, I think that’s contrary to traditional Fourth Amendment practice.”

John Bowman, communications director for the National Motorists Association, said about 30 states are performingsimilar checkpoints, usually on holiday weekends. To Bowman, the tests are an egregious offense to drivers’ constitutional rights.

In addition to the Fourth Amendment, Section 26 of the Mississippi Constitution reads that a suspect “shall not be compelled to give evidence against himself.”

“The NMA is opposed to such constitutionally suspect DUI enforcement practices as roadblocks and no refusal pushes,” Bowman said. “Backers of no-refusal point out that the police secure warrants before the invasive testing, but often the justification for the warrant is flimsy at best. And remember, we’re not talking about breath tests here. We’re talking about taking a person’s blood, sometimes against their will. This has the potential to become a gross violation of personal privacy.

“Such practices also promote ‘assembly line’ traffic justice and make all motorists suspects simply because they’re driving on a certain road at a certain time.”

Oxford Police Chief Joey East said his department only helped the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol in its weekend checkpoint.

“We assisted them,” East said. “It was more of a promotional thing for the Mississippi Department of Highway Safety to bring awareness to the dangers of drinking and driving. They were bringing people’s attention to the factthey have the capability to do that (get a search warrant for a blood test), in my opinion.”

He said if one of his officers pulls someone over for another violation, such as speeding, and the officer suspects the driver is impaired, the officer has the right to go before a judge and get a search warrant for a blood test — if the driver refuses a field sobriety test. But East said his department won’t be instituting a no-refusal DUI policy at any of its safety checkpoints, which, he said, it conducts periodically.

“We’ve never done that with a judge standing by,” East said. “We’ve never done anything like that.”

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