NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Underage drinking is a concern in Tennessee. According to the United Health Foundation, 9.1% of kids ages 12 and 17 have had an alcoholic drink within the past month.
“The board will discuss their concerns with the findings against an individual that continues to sell to our underage compliance checks, and at that point, they’ll typically determine whether or not to suspend it or to revoke the license,” Metro Beer Permit Board Director Benton McDonough explained.
The Metro Beer Permit Board held a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 2, where 15 businesses were listed in complaints for underage drinking. McDonough said officials work to investigate between 80% and 100% of businesses that serve beer each year.
Many times, when a business is caught selling alcohol, it was by mistake, McDonough added. However, each infraction can cost the business thousands of dollars in fines.
“Typically, the first offense would bring in about $1,500 for a civil penalty, and then it progresses up to $2,500 for a maximum,” McDonough said.
In a 2018 report, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration said 16.7% of Tennesseans between the ages of 12 and 20 had an alcoholic drink within the previous month, adding up to a total of 131,000 minors and young adults. On top of that, 109 people under the age of 21 died because of alcohol, and 15 people were killed in crashes involving drivers ages 15 to 20 who drank before getting behind the wheel.
To see read the report on underage drinking in Tennessee, click here.