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Alcohol availability restricted on Marine Corps installations

Sep. 7, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
The Marine Corps will limit the store hours and locations where alcohol is sold on installations.
The Marine Corps will limit the store hours and locations where alcohol is sold on installations. (Ryan McVay / Getty Images)
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Alcohol sales aboard Marine Corps installations will soon be restricted as the service continues its fight against the abuse of alcohol and crimes associated with drinking.

The new rules are detailed in a memo signed by Commandant Gen. James Amos on Aug. 26. Initially obtained and reported by Stars and Stripes, the memo was sent to the director of Semper Fit and Exchange Services Division. The intent is to support the Navy Secretary’s 21st Century Sailor and Marine initiative, which promotes readiness, safety and physical fitness.

The changes are intended to support initiatives tied to sexual assault prevention and response as well as to promote health. The changes must be completed within 90 days from the date of the letter and include the following new limitations:

■ Distilled spirits — or liquor — will be removed from all sites designated as Marine Marts adjacent to barracks.

■ Alcoholic beverages will be sold only from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m. in all Marine Corps exchanges.

■ Floor space dedicated to the sale and display of alcohol will be limited to no more than 10 percent of total retail space in stores not considered a package store.

■ Alcohol and displays will be relocated to the sides or rears of exchanges, farther from main entrances and sections used by underage patrons; in-store marketing will be limited to those sections.

Alcohol also won’t be sold at more than a 10 percent discount in alcohol beverage control states. There are 18 states with a monopoly over the wholesaling and retailing of alcohol. North Carolina, home to tens of thousands of Marines, is one of those states. Discounts will be limited to 5 percent in non-alcohol control beverage states.

Bryan Driver, a spokesman with Semper Fit and Exchange Services Division, said locations that no longer will sell distilled spirits are still being determined.

“Although there may be locations that still have beer and wine available, many of our Marine Marts adjacent to troop areas currently do not sell alcohol and will not be affected by the change,” he said.

The initiative follows a number of programs created to fight alcohol abuse.

In July, Marine Corps Defense Services Organization released a documentary, “Lost Honor,” in which Marines convicted of crimes tied to sexual assault detailed how their lives and careers fell apart. A discussion guide with the video facilitates small-unit talks on sexual assault prevention and response, and focuses on how alcohol can cloud decision-making.

In June, a 4.5-hour-long alcohol-and-drug-abuse prevention program called Prime for Life was unveiled. It targeted Marines between the ages of 17 and 25.

And in January, the Corps started administering breathalyzers as part of the Alcohol Screening Program. The tests, generally issued in the morning, indicate whether a Marine is showing up to work with alcohol in his or her system. Anyone with a blood-alcohol content of 0.01 could be referred to alcohol abuse counseling.

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