On the nights of Feb. 5 and 6, underage drinkers in over 24 businesses throughout downtown Athens were issued minor in possession citations and told to leave those establishments by officers from the Georgia Department of Revenue Alcohol and Tobacco Division, or GDR.
The officers entered the bars and proceeded to ask students for their IDs, and anyone who was underage that was in possession of either a fake ID or alcohol, received the citation and warning.
This check was one of many routine investigations that the GDR conducts. The GDR’s alcohol and tobacco division is responsible for the regulation of any business or manufacturer of alcoholic beverages or tobacco products.
The GDR’s alcohol and tobacco division is comprised of law enforcement and operations units. The operations unit is involved in licensing and permits, as well as audits and taxes, according to dor.georgia.gov.
The licensing officials are responsible for receiving and processing applications for wholesalers, brokers, manufacturers, etc. of alcoholic beverages and tobacco products.
The enforcement unit of this division is responsible for enforcing the laws/regulations that relate to the manufacturing, possession and transportation of legal or illegal alcoholic beverages and tobacco products. This unit is made up of special agents who conduct investigations regarding background checks, licensing violations and the sale of alcoholic beverages or tobacco products to minors.
Though many students believed otherwise, according to many social media posts, the raid of downtown Athens was nothing out of the ordinary. Though those who received MIPs may have viewed the incident as unfortunate, the GDR was doing their job by looking into the sale of alcohol to minors.
Underage drinking is not an uncommon phenomenon among college students. According to dor.ga.gov, more than 150 young people in Georgia die from alcohol related causes. This reason, among others, is why investigations, such as the GDR’s, are necessary.
Anyone who chooses to participate in underage drinking should be aware of the consequences that can occur. Not only are there medical dangers, but also remember that it is illegal for anyone under 21 to consume alcohol. If caught doing so, arrest is possible. Fortunately for the minors in Athens, the officers only issued MIPs and warnings.