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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What is the Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS)?

    APIS is a project of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) that provides electronic user-searchable access to authoritative, detailed, and comparable information on alcohol-related policies in the United States, at both State and Federal levels.

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  2. Why was APIS developed?

    APIS was developed to encourage and facilitate research on the effects and effectiveness of alcohol-related public policies in the United States.

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  3. For whom is APIS designed?

    APIS is designed primarily for use by researchers.  It will also be of interest to policy-makers, alcohol prevention and treatment practitioners, and members of the general public.

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  4. What types of information does APIS provide?

    APIS provides:
     

    • In-depth comparisons of State and Federal policies on selected alcohol-related topics (as of a particular date and/or over a period of time specified by the site user), and
    • Summaries and text of alcohol-related bills and regulations enacted or adopted in the United States at either the State or Federal level (in 2002 and 2003 only).

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  5. What areas of alcohol-related policy does APIS address?

    APIS addresses the following alcohol-related policy areas:

    • Alcoholic beverage control
    • Taxation and pricing
    • Transportation, crime, and public safety
    • Health care services and financing
    • Alcohol and pregnancy

    These policy areas are described in the Alcohol Policy Classification System which is available at the link on the left navigation bar.

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  6. What is the Alcohol Policy Classification System?

    The Alcohol Policy Classification System (APCS) is a tool for organizing and retrieving bills and regulations in the APIS Enacted Bills and Adopted Regulations section.

    All bills and regulations are assigned by APIS Staff to:

    • One or more alcohol policy areas (organized into nine broad categories), and
    • When applicable, one or more cross-cutting dimensions (organized into five broad categories).

    Together, these nine alcohol policy areas and five cross-cutting dimensions (and their subcategories) are the Alcohol Policy Classification System.

    The Enacted Bills and Adopted Regulations section can be searched by these alcohol policy areas and cross-cutting dimensions for 2002 and 2003 only.  Doing so will help ensure that your search yields bills and regulations that address area(s) and/or dimension(s) of interest to you—even if the language of bills/regulations that address these area(s) or dimension(s) varies across States or over time.

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  7. What will I find in the section of the APIS Web site titled APIS Policy Topics?

    This section of the APIS Web site provides in-depth comparisons of State policies on selected alcohol-related topics.  The following information is provided on each alcohol policy topic:

    • a brief narrative description;
    • a list of definitions (if necessary);
    • a summary of relevant Federal law (if any);
    • tables comparing State policies on that topic (as of a particular date and/or over a period of time specified by the user);
    • a brief explanation of variables used in creating these tables;
    • notes explaining the limitations of the information provided;
    • maps and charts;
    • relevant statutory and regulatory citations; and
    • references to selected Federal publications.

    The tables present variables that reflect the state of the law in each jurisdiction based on an extensive search of statutes and regulations. The comparison tables also provide citations to the legal sources that support the coding of the variables.  They also provide links to information on legal citation generally as well as to materials containing the text of statutes or regulations cited in the comparison tables.

    All tables may be downloaded in a format suitable for many spreadsheet and statistical programs.

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  8. What will I find in the section of the APIS Web site titled Enacted Bills and Adopted Regulations?

    This section of the APIS Web site provides the following information on every alcohol-related bill and regulation enacted or adopted in the United States (at either the State or Federal level), in 2002:

    • a brief narrative summary of the bill or regulation;
    • the full text of that bill or regulation; and
    • the full text of statutory or regulatory codes as amended by that bill or regulation.

    For 2003, this section of the APIS Web site provides only brief narrative summaries and the full text of bills.  Coverage for additional years is not currently being added.

    Users may search for bills and/or regulations by jurisdiction, year, alcohol policy area(s), and other dimensions, and words appearing in the full text.

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  9. What kinds of information are not available on the APIS Web site?

    Except as specifically indicated, APIS does not provide information on:

    • bills which are introduced but not enacted;
    • regulations which are proposed but not adopted;
    • local (county and municipal) policies;
    • policies adopted by military or tribal authorities;
    • decisions of State and Federal courts; or
    • alcohol use and alcohol-related problems.

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  10. How often will the information available on the APIS Web site be updated?

    Updated information on policy topics which currently appear in the section of the APIS Web site titled APIS Policy Topics will be added as legal research on these policies is completed.  New policy topics will be posted to the APIS Web site as they are developed and as legal research on these topics is completed.

    The Enacted Bills and Adopted Regulations section of the APIS Web site is not currently being updated. 

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  11. What is the source of the legal materials contained on the APIS Web site?

    The materials on the APIS Web site come from a variety of sources.  The text of enacted bills and adopted regulations is provided by Information for Public Affairs, Inc., a/k/a, State Net.  The text of Federal statutes and codified regulations is provided by Loislaw.com, Inc. 

    All other materials contained on APIS (including descriptive text, legal citations, tables, charts and maps) have been prepared specifically for the Web site by APIS Staff.

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  12. How should the information and data on APIS be cited?

    Citation of the source is appreciated.

    Please use the following format to cite materials from APIS:

    National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  Page title or description.  Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS) Web site.  Retrieved MM/DD/YEAR, from www.alcoholpolicy.niaaa.nih.gov/ followed by the balance of the URL to link directly to material being cited.

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  13. I am new to the alcohol policy field.  Where on the APIS Web site should I begin?

    You may find it helpful to begin by reading About Alcohol Policy and reviewing the descriptions of alcohol-related policies in the Alcohol Policy Classification System.

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  14. Why should I look at a list of Explanatory Notes and Limitations before I  view APIS comparison tables of APIS policy topics?

    The complexities of State and Federal statutes and regulations make it impossible to characterize all State and Federal alcohol policies with complete precision.  Complicating factors may include but are not limited to:

    • the existence of other, important variables not currently included in APIS;
    • ambiguities in statutory and regulatory language;
    • preemption of local options by State law or court decisions;
    • the impact of case law and local laws and ordinances;
    • the possible existence of statutes or regulations outside the body of alcohol-related law that may affect the implementation of policies;
    • the impact of administrative decisions which, while not codified in statutes or regulations, affect the implementation of policies;
    • the wide variety of alcoholic beverages (e.g., sake, vermouth, cider) that may be variously defined by different States or that may not be addressed in some or all jurisdictions;
    • the existence of important extra-legal factors related to implementation, enforcement and compliance, and sanctions actually imposed (as opposed to mandated), that contribute to the effectiveness of a policy; and
    • the policies and practices of private sector institutions (e.g., workplace or college drinking policies) that may affect the alcohol-related behavior of large segments of the population.

    It is strongly recommended that APIS users review all Explanatory Notes and Limitations with care.

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  15. Where can I find detailed instructions for searching APIS?

    Detailed instructions for using APIS are available at the How to Search APIS link on the left navigation bar.

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  16. Is APIS accessible to people with disabilities?

    Section 508 of the U. S. Rehabilitation Act requires that electronic and information technology developed or maintained by the Federal government be accessible to people with disabilities.  APIS meets these requirements.  Sight-impaired users may interact with the APIS Web site using standard screen-reader tools.

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  17. I believe I have found a factual error or other problem on the APIS Web site.  What should I do?

    Please contact APIS to report any problems or questions you may have. To do so, click the Contact APIS link on the left navigation bar.

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  18. Does APIS provide data on alcohol use and alcohol-related problems?

    APIS does not provide such data.  However, the Alcohol Epidemiologic Data Directory (published annually by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) contains descriptive and source information on a large number of data sets on alcohol use and alcohol-related problems.  This directory can be viewed at http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/datasys.htm.

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  19. How was APIS developed?

    APIS was developed under contract for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The prime contractor is The CDM Group, Inc. (Contract No. HHSN267200800007C).  Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation and UrbanPlanet, LLC, are major subcontractors.  Mike Hilton, Ph.D., Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, NIAAA, is the Government Project Officer.

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  20. Is this Web site updated with new information?

    This Web site is updated from time to time to add new material, enhance functionality,  and clarify or correct information already available on the site. A list of changes is available on the Web Site Change Log page. Announcements of new policies and other major enhancements to the site are also provided on the What's New page.

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