Education critical in preventing underage drinking, NC officials say

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – As college students across the state head to campus, officials are doing what they can to crack down on what they say is a big problem: underage drinking.

A training seminar to educate servers on proper procedures was held Friday in Chapel Hill.

“I came out because it’s the beginning of the year, there a lot of new people, new kids and students coming to town whether they be undergraduates or gradates and we need to know what to do,” said Bennett LaPrade, employee at Pantana Bob’s in Chapel Hill.

In order to help those like LaPrade be prepared, the Alcohol Beverage Commission hosted a training program.

The goal is to advise those who work in bars, restaurants, convenience and grocery stores on proper alcohol sales.

“Checking IDs isn’t always easy to do,” said LaPrade. “There are a lot of new types of IDs out there and fake IDs that are being made all the time.”

Attendees also discusses server discretion, acceptable IDs, checking IDs and more.

“We want these servers to have the very best information they can about what to look for, how to determine if those identification cards are fake and what to do about it,” said Chapel Hill Police Chief Chris Blue.

North Carolina ABC Commission officials said severing alcohol to someone under the age of 21 comes with big consequences.

“It’s a class-one misdemeanor which means it’s a mandatory court appearance and the fines can run up to $2,000,” said Project Coordinator Alan Fields. “The other side of that coin is that also could affect the ABC permit issued to a certain business and that business could be fined.”

The North Carolina ABC Commission plans to have another underage drinking seminar in Boone in two weeks.

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