It has been more than a year since voters approved alcohol sales in Manchester.
In the last month, law enforcement officials said they have made more arrests in Clay County for alcohol-related incidents, mainly among young people.
Clay County Sheriff’s Deputies and Manchester police tell me they have seen an increase, especially in recent weeks, in underage drinking, which they said leads to other problems.
“Young lives are getting destroyed by making a wrong choice,” said Manchester City Police Chief Chris Fultz.
Law enforcement officials said alcohol related arrests have spiked in the past month.
“We had arrested a very limited number of children or young adults that were under 21 for public intoxication or having possession of alcohol until here recently,” said Fultz.
They said they do not believe the sellers are to blame.
“If I feel and I see that they are under the age of 21, I stop them at the door and if they don't have their ID, I ask them to leave the premises,” said liquor store manager Kathy Smith.
Smith said if someone came through the Drive-Thru, she asked for IDs from everyone in the car.
Police said it has usually been a case of "paying and passing."
“Young adults, who are 21, 22 years of age, who are the legal drinking age who have friends that are 20, 19, 18-years-old, they are buying alcohol and having parties thinking that it's okay to have those there because they are adults,” said Fultz.
“But they are not 21.”
They said it sometimes leads to them getting behind the wheel, under the influence. Officials said most of the incidents happen at night so they are asking parents of young adults to keep a closer watch on their children. They said with their help they can hopefully help prevent the problem from getting worse.
“If you feel that your child is in danger or is somewhere that they should not be, and you don't want to go because you don't know who they are, just call us, we will go,” said Fultz.
“We will check on them.”
Manchester and Clay County officials said they are patrolling more.
“It is our family as well as theirs that they are endangering along with themselves so we are stepping up efforts and we are going to continue stepping up efforts,” said Deputy Chris Curry.
Curry said he wanted people to consider what they are risking.
Officials said they have also charged several people with distributing alcohol to a minor, a misdemeanor, which is usually comes with a fine.
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