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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.

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.

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.

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
  • Supplemental materials and resources useful to researchers and others interested in alcohol policy.
What areas of alcohol-related policy does APIS address?

APIS addresses the following alcohol-related policy areas:

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

These policy areas are described in the Alcohol Policy Taxonomy, which is available from the left navigation bar.

What is the Alcohol Policy Taxonomy?

The Alcohol Policy Taxonomy (APT) provides an inventory and taxonomy of alcohol policies. It is organized into:

  • Policy areas under nine broad categories, and
  • Cross-cutting dimensions, including: Demographic Groups; Beverage Types; Penalties, Liabilities, and Incentives; Special Jurisdictions; and Other Dimensions.

Researchers, especially those new to the alcohol policy field, can examine the APT to gain an appreciation of the nature and scope of alcohol policies and the specific issues these policies address.

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.

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.
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.

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 Federal statutes and codified regulations has been obtained from FDsys, the Federal Digital System of the U.S. Government Printing Office. 

The materials in the NHTSA Alcohol-Highway Safety Digest Topics section of the Web site have been abstracted from the Digest of Alcohol-Highway Safety Related Information, Volume 5 to 21, published by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), U.S. Department of Transportation.

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.

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.


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 Taxonomy.

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.

Where can I find instructions for using APIS?

Detailed instructions for using APIS are available on the Instructions tab associated with each APIS policy topic.

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.

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.

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. HHSN275201300002C).  Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation is a major subcontractor.  Mike Hilton, Ph.D., Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, NIAAA, is the Contracting Officer's Representative.

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.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism National Institutes of Health Department of Health and Human Services USA.gov - Government Made Easy