Area Substance Abuse Council training bars to spot 'problem drinking'

Published: Aug. 21, 2019 at 4:52 AM CDT
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According to the Area Substance Abuse Council, Iowa is the third-worst in the nation for problem drinking. ASAC is looking to address that issue through TIPS, or Training Intervention Procedures and has offered the free program for several years.

The organization trains bar workers throughout Eastern Iowa on responsible alcohol services which includes checking for fake ID's, knowing when a person has had too much and making sure a person isn't driving drunk.

Grant money helps ASAC pay for the program. ASAC said TIPS really helps bars address the underage drinking issue.

"Twenty percent of 11th graders admit to current use,” said Jeff Meyers with the Area Substance Abuse Council. “When you talk about adults, when you look at treatment level data, that's still the number one thing that adults get treatment for in Iowa is alcohol use disorder.”

In 2015, Jones County passed an ordinance forcing places that serve alcohol to go through some type of training. The Jones County Coalition for Safe and Healthy Youth holds four TIPS trainings per year.

ASAC tells me TIPS training does have benefits for bar owners. They say it can minimize property damage caused by drunk people, some insurance companies give discounts to bars that take part in the training, and it can also protect a bar if one of their patrons tries suing them over a liquor issue.

ASAC has held two TIPS training this past week: one in Lisbon on Monday, and one yesterday in Cedar Rapids. Bars wanting to participate can give them a call, or email Jeff Meyers at