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North Carolina Police Working Hard To Catch Underage Drinking

Drinking alcohol is a common part of college culture, yet many college students do not turn 21 until well into their college career. Therefore, many students who engage in underage drinking attempt to do so by using fake IDs at bars and liquor stores.

In the past, authorities in North Carolina may have turned a blind eye to this practice, but that is beginning to change. Police are not only cracking down on minors who try to buy alcohol, they are also punishing the business that sell to them.

In Chapel Hill, which is home to one of our state universities, police have already issued 47 citations to local businesses for serving alcohol to minors. And all these citations were issued just since the beginning of 2011. Police in Chapel Hill formed an underage drinking task force in 2009 called the Alcohol Law Enforcement Response Team (ALERT).

Since its formation, ALERT has recruited underage kids to go into local businesses and attempt to buy alcohol using either a fake ID or their own real ID. If the business agrees to sell alcohol to the underage buyer, police step in to issue a citation.

ALERT has already issued more citations this year than it did in all of 2010. It is also holding meetings with local bar owners and offering classes to teach servers how to spot fake IDs and refuse a sale to anyone under 21.

Alcohol enforcement is becoming a big priority in North Carolina, especially in college towns like Wilmington. Students caught trying to buy alcohol can face serious consequences, not only with the law but with school officials as well. Students should be aware that trying to buy alcohol when you are underage might cost you more than the price of a fake ID.

Source: The Daily Tar Heel online, "Chapel Hill police crack down on serving to minors," Chad Royal, 25 January 2011

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