Purpose of Practice

To reduce youth access to alcoholic energy drinks.

Description of Practice

Previously, the Montana Law Enforcement Academy offered Wet Lab training for all law enforcement personnel. Wet Lab training provided an opportunity for law enforcement personnel to learn how Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) occurs, how to administer the test, and provided an environment to view the effects of HGN in a controlled environment. The HGN test is one of three field sobriety tests that comprise the standardized field sobriety test (SFST) battery. The other two tests include the walk-an-turn test and the one-leg-stand test. Scientific evidence establishes that the HGN test is a reliable roadside measure of a person's impairment due to alcohol or certain other drugs. Due to the cost of funding the Wet Lab training, this portion was deleted from the academy training. As a result of this, DUI cases where HGN was administered by an officer that had not gone through Wet Lab training were having the results of the HGN test thrown out due to the officer not having proper training or the qualifications or experience necessary to administer the test. For this reason the Montana Highway Patrol (MHP) approached the Department of Revenue to ask for funding to bring the Wet Lab back to the Law Enforcement Academy. MHP was awarded grant monies to fund three Wet Lab trainings during the 2010 year. With the Wet Lab training back in place, this will help to ensure the prosecution of DUI cases in the future.

Success or Improvements

Passage of this legislation has removed alcoholic energy drinks from convenient sources such as gas stations, convenience stores, grocery stores, etc. Due to this legislation, alcoholic energy drinks are now only allowed for sale in the 97 agency liquor stores located across the state. This legislation has reduced youths access to alcoholic energy drinks and has also made them less affordable for youth. Alcoholic energy drinks use to cost about $1.25 a can. Now with the legislation, they cost approximately $3.20 for that same drink.


Positive feedback has been received from allover the state. Communities often comment on how grateful they are that this legislation was passed and that Montana is finally headed in the right direction in trying to change the culture around alcohol.


Name: Lisa Scates 
Agency: Montana Department of Revenue - Liquor Control Division 
Address: P.O. Box 1712, Helena, MT 59624 
Tele: 406-444-4307 
Email: LiScates.mt.gov or AlcoholServerTraining@mt.gov