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Parish regulators suggest 21+ requirement for bar entry, better fake ID detection amid outrage over underage drinking

1 year 2 months 1 week ago Wednesday, March 08 2023 Mar 8, 2023 March 08, 2023 10:31 PM March 08, 2023 in News
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE - LSU student Madison Brooks died when she was hit by a car after a night of heavy drinking at Reggie's in Tigerland. Her death sparked concerns on underage drinking and ideas on how to cut down on the use of fake IDs.

On Wednesday, Director of the ABC Board Chris Cranford gave a presentation to the Metro Council on what can be done to stop the issue.

"Our goal is to deter underage drinking," Cranford told the council.

Cranford says, usually 17, 18, and 19-year-olds are the biggest groups of underage drinkers, and a lot of them use fake IDs.

Cranford says they have a box with roughly 10,000 fake IDs in their office. He says better technology is needed at bars and other establishments to help spot fakes. 

"That is a big problem here, and it is a big issue across the country."

Right now, people 18 and up can still enter certain bars in Baton Rouge. Brooks was able to enter Reggies at 19 and used a fake ID to buy alcohol. The ABC Board says it might be time to ban kids under 21 from entering bars altogether.

"If you are going to allow an 18-year-old into the bar, unfortunately, most of them are going to try and drink. The law says they can't, so I don't see the positive side of letting them in," Cranford said.

But Councilwoman Denise Amoroso says these ideas might not have the best impact.

"How can you control it? You can't control fake IDs, you can't control the bars over serving kids," Amoroso said. "One of the things that needs to be done is up fines for the bars that serve underage kids."

It's an idea that councilwoman Laurie Adams says she might support.

"You need to make sure that fines are truly punitive and that they catch the attention of bar owners," Adams said.

Ultimately, Amoroso and everyone else understood that stopping underage drinking is hard, and it will be a team effort to fix it.

The ABC board will discuss raising fines at their meeting tomorrow. Right now, fines for bar owners whose establishments are caught serving underage kids are $500.

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