Norwich distributes ID scanners to venues, liquor stores to curb underage drinking

New London

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH)– The bar can get pretty busy at Celebrations at River’s Bend in Norwich.

“In order to card everybody you have to have really good light,” explained Debbie White, of Celebrations at River’s Bend. “You have to have really good eyes.”

Making sure they are only serving people who are old enough to legally buy alcohol can be difficult.

“And if people are waiting in line behind the person that you’re carding they’re getting inpatient and you start to get a little anxious, so it takes all of that away,” said White, who showed News 8 an ID scanner they just received from Norwich Youth & Family Services.

The scanners were given to the event venue along with other restaurants and liquor stores in Norwich.

“It tells you the person’s age, how many times they visited the liquor store, if the ID’s expired. All that,” said Tiana Powell, the Partnership for Success coordinator for Norwich Youth & Family Services.

The scanners which are portable provide the information almost instantly. 

“Initially we got it for COVID-19 since liquor stores were offering curbside pick up and you can’t really bring your computer to scan your ID outside,” said Powell.

They also provide E-tips training for the liquor store and restaurant workers.

The courses are designed to prevent intoxication, drunk driving, and underage drinking.

“All the research shows that the brain isn’t fully developed until 25 and it affects the frontal lobe which is decision making, impulse control,” said Erin Haggan, Director of Norwich Youth & Family Services.

A survey of students in middle and high school showed the perception of harm is pretty low which may be why alcohol is the first illegal substance many kids try. That and the fact it may be easy to get.

Norwich Youth & Family Services is also giving out liquor stickers to  families. 

The thin stickers can be put over the top of a liquor bottle. If the bottle is opened the sticker rips and parents know someone has opened the bottle.

A sobering statistic is that 86 percent of underage drinkers in the U.S. get their alcohol at their home or someone else’s.

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