RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – As college students start flooding back into the Triangle for another school year, state officials are increasing their efforts to combat underage drinking.
One of those efforts focuses on making sure students have proper, legal identifications. And bartenders at places like Glenwood South in Raleigh, where college students often hang out, have learned they have to be vigilant when watching for fake IDs.
Manager Scott Jankovictz at the Tobacco Road Sports Bar on Glenwood Avenue said he sees all kinds of IDs at the bar.
He said spotting fakes requires a great deal of care.
“You look for the expiration date, which is above the birthday,” he said.
“You really have to research out the difference states and what their IDs look like. You have to be aware of that.”
The issue has been a hot topic of conversation in the Triangle after some dramatic cases involving underage drinking. Chandler Kania, a student at the University of North Carolina, is charged with killing three people while driving drunk. Officials said he presented a fake ID after the accident.
For those who sell alcohol, the penalties for serving to under aged drinkers are severe.
“A $1,000 fine and you can lose your liquor license,” Jankovictz said. “If you are the individual who serves you can’t work anyplace that sells alcohol for like three years .”
But getting those fake IDs is easy, students told WNCN.
“Most people buy them on line — like from China,” said student Katrina Vacca.
“There are a lot of websites out there where you can order them,” said another student, Alex Spancake. “It’s not that hard.”
Vacca said it’s “very prevalent” for people under the age of 21 to have fake identifications.
The underage issue is compounded by the presence of foreign students in the area.
“They are used to going to clubs at 18,” said one foreign student, Catalina Montiel. “But here they can’t, so they use fake ID’s to get into clubs.”
But one man who recently graduated, Paxton Scott, said fake IDs is only one avenue for college students who want to drink.
And not all the underage drinking among college kids happens because they are using fake ID.
“It seems more prevalent that someone under age has someone of age buy alcohol for them,” Paxton Scott said.
Next week, the Alcohol Law Enforcement will hold training sessions in Chapel Hill to help those who serve alcohol learn how to detect fake IDs.