The Hawaiʻi Alcohol Policy Alliance (HIAPA) is a new statewide coalition that aims to educate the community and advocate for evidence-based, responsible alcohol policies.

HIAPA wrapped up their first legislative session with two main priorities for Hawaii’s communities: Increasing the state alcohol excise tax by $0.10 per drink, and lowering the blood alcohol concentration to 0.05 percent. Long overdue increases in Hawaii’s alcohol taxes will save lives and help the state government to offset some of the costs associated with alcohol consumption, while efforts to lower the blood alcohol concentration threshold for drunk driving would save lives (about 90 countries have lower alcohol-related traffic fatalities due to the adoption of a blood alcohol content of 0.05 or lower).

Unfortunately, neither of the bills made it through the session. Coalition members fought hard and did the best they could, despite the Alliance’s relatively recent formation. Legislative success aside, one win to celebrate is all of the new relationships the Alliance has formed, which will support future interventions. Partnering with community organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, State of Hawaiʻi Organization of Police Officers, the Hawaiʻi State Teachers Association, and the Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Action Group helped move these measures forward by educating community members and legislators alike about the facts around excessive alcohol consumption and the harms it creates in our communities.

HIAPA could not have made it this far without its members and community advocates providing written and oral testimony, making calls to legislators and providing support for the Alliance throughout the legislative session. The Alliance looks forward to continued growth and strengthening of these efforts in years to come. For more information or to get involved please contact Chelsea Gonzales, chelsea@hiphi.org