Attorney General Reviews Underage Drinking in College Towns

If students under 21 try to go drinking in Mississippi's college towns, recent statistics show 32% of the time they'll get served, even though many bars use stamps or wristbands to distinguish the legal drinkers from those who are underage.

The Attorney General's office started the college town sting after college officials expressed concerns about their students drinking illegally. This is an effort, Moore says, to save lives, "The concern from the universities was that we have a lot of students who have lost their lives after going to some of these places and just getting plastered then getting on the highways and either killing themselves or killing other people."

Out of all of the college towns checked, Hattiesburg was the only one with a zero percent buy rate. Moore said, "Whatever they're doing at USM it's working. We understand they're talking to students on campus that the university is reaching out to the bars and telling them they don't want their students going into those places."

Even the state legislature is getting in on the crack down. A house bill now waiting on senate approval would prohibit all underage people from even entering bars. Rep. Jim Simpson from Gulfport said this might be difficult, "Once the underage people are in the nightclubs it's just so difficult to enforce the law. It seems like the only effective way to stop underage people from drinking is to keep them out of the bar." The Attorney General says by the end of the year, his office will have conducted nearly eight thousand alcohol checks. Those caught serving minors, could be fined, shut down or could get jail time.