OSCEOLA COUNTY - The Osceola Sheriff's Department is planning alcohol compliance checks throughout the spring and summer months. The checks are a collaborative effort between Mecosta-Osceola Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking and the sheriff's department. "We want to insure that all retail establishments within our community are selling alcohol in a responsible manner," said Kim Livingston, prevention coordinator for Ten 16 Recovery Network. Underage drinking increases the risk of physical and sexual assault and is associated with academic failure, and illicit drug use. It also can cause a range of physical consequences from hangovers to death from alcohol poisoning, Livingston added. "Underage drinking can cause alterations in the structure and function of the developing brain, which continues to mature into the mid- to late-20s and may have consequences reaching far beyond adolescence," Livingston said in a news release. "Early consumption of alcohol may result in an alcohol use disorder, that is, they will meet the diagnostic criteria for either alcohol abuse or dependence. Approximately 40 percent of individuals who report drinking before age 15 also describe their behavior and drinking, at some point in their lives, in ways consistent with alcoholism." That percentage is four times more then those who do not drink before the age of 21. Livingston would like to thank retailers for taking steps to prevent underage drinking. "Our community is a safer and healthier place as a result of their efforts to keep alcoholic products out of the hands of our youth," Livingston said. Retailers that have any questions or concerns or are in need of training resources, can contact Kim Livingston at Ten 16 Recovery Network at (231) 527-2000.