If they want to, they will.
That’s the truth about kids who want to drink, said Diane Anderson, coordinator of Nevada Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws, a federal program that offers states funding and training to keep youngsters from alcohol.
Anderson was on hand Thursday evening at Underage Alcohol Management Control, or UAMAC , a mandatory training course for servers at the soon-to-open Container Park downtown.
The four-hour class covered law as well as how to spot and handle underage drinking situations. It was hosted by officer John Shutt, a trainer with EUDL, and Chris Curtis, head of Downtown Rangers, the Downtown Project’s security group.
The class will be offered to the public free of charge.
“Is it getting worse? Our numbers show it is,” Anderson said of underage drinking downtown, particularly during First Friday, in the East Fremont entertainment district and under the Fremont Street Experience.
But changes are encouraging, she said, citing the new curfew for teenagers downtown and the moratorium on package liquor licenses, which went into effect Nov. 6.
Anderson said parents and education are key to keeping kids away from the bottle. Talking to children as early as age 5 about alcohol can make a difference.
Places that serve alcohol should also ramp up identification-checking efforts and increase employee education, she said.
The UAMAC class had students try to differentiate between real and fake ID cards, and taught them to use tools such as ID scanners and flashlights with sensors that can detect alcohol. Students also tried coordination tasks while wearing goggles that impair vision and simulate intoxication.
“We’re not going to stop underage drinking, but if we can educate and prevent access, that’s key,” Anderson said.
The class is one in a series Curtis plans to continue. Those interested can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.