Description of Strategy
The “Shoulder Tap” is a method minors use to obtain alcohol from social sources. In this method the minor will stand outside of an alcohol establishment and ask an adult to buy them alcohol by tapping the adult’s shoulder or otherwise signaling the adult. “Shoulder Tap” enforcement programs enlist a minor decoy, under the direct supervision of law enforcement officers, to solicit adults outside of liquor stores to buy the minor decoy alcohol. Any person seen furnishing alcohol to the minor decoy is arrested (either cited or booked) for furnishing alcohol to a minor (National Association of Governors’ Highway Safety Representatives, 2001).
Discussion of Effectiveness
Limited evidence suggests that "Shoulder Tap" enforcement programs are effective as part of a multi-component strategy for alcohol outcomes (Spera, Barlas, Szoc, Prabhakaran, & Cambridge, 2012). More evidence is needed to evaluate “Shoulder Tap” programs as stand-alone prevention strategy.
A study investigated what local enforcement agencies are doing to deter adults from providing alcohol to underage youth (Jones-Webb, Toomey, Lenk, Nelson, & Erickson, 2015). The study found less than 42% of the 1,056 agencies in the study had enforcement programs targeting adults who provide alcohol to underage youth.