With students returning to campuses across Kentucky, the Kentucky Office of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is stepping up efforts to prevent sales to minors at establishments that cater to college and university students.
"Every fall, as college gets underway, we see a significant increase in the number of incidents involving alcohol sales to underage consumers," said ABC Executive Director Chris Lilly. "We are putting bars and alcohol retailers on notice that we intend to vigorously enforce underage drinking laws.
"While some people might view underage drinking, particularly by college students, as something of a rite of passage, it is in fact both illegal and dangerous," Lilly said. "It threatens the safety of those young people who drink as well as the safety of other citizens."
Lilly called on retailers, bars, and restaurants to prevent drinking by minors. While most establishments do a fairly good job of guarding against sales to minors, some that cater to college-aged students are less vigilant, he said.
ABC investigators and local law enforcement are out in force to make sure that underage drinking laws are being followed. They are citing establishments that allow minors to drink and remain on their premises.
With the school year just beginning, several establishments already have been cited for infractions and there have been dangerous incidents involving over-consumption of alcohol by minors.
Each charge of sale to a minor carries a fine of up to $1,750. Fines double with a second offense, and a third offense can result in the revocation of an establishment's liquor or beer license. Adults convicted of providing alcohol to minors can receive up to 12 months in jail, while minors who drink alcohol or have fake identifications are also subject to criminal penalties.
For information on these programs and other ways to stop underage drinking, contact the educational branch of ABC at 502-564-4850.