(SIOUX CITY, IA) Underage is a big problem in Woodbury County, according to the Iowa Department of Health.
Now, thanks to some money from the state, a local recovery center plans to fight that problem by teaming up with the people who sell alcohol.
Jackson Recovery specializes in helping people with addiction problems but it also want to help people drink responsibly and get home safe. So, the center wants to team up with local bars to help train bartenders and employees here in Siouxland.
Rhonda Capron, a local bar owner says Bartenders get a bad rap.
"I think people associate alcohol with a bad thing and it's not a bad thing if you do it responsibly," says Capron.
She's the owner of Rhonda's Speakeasy in Sioux City and a member of the City Council which gives her added resolve to follow the law.
"I've given people rides home I've called them cabs I pay for cabs. Its being responsible," she says.
So Rhonda is spreading the word to convince people in the business of selling alcohol to get some training through a program conducted by the Jackson Recovery center. Mike Reynolds, the Prevention coordinator at the Center says it's a win-win situation.
"Once an employee is certified this certification lasts for 3 years. They can take it with them from job to job," he says.
And the best part - its free - at least for now. The grant will cover the training costs up until June of 2014. After that it's a $100 fee to get certified.
The training will help bartenders recognize fake IDs and if someone's had a little too much to drink.
"We do a lot of role playing type training to help them address patrons who are already intoxicated and how to politely and respectfully decline selling more alcohol to them," says Reynolds.
A tactic Rhonda's got down.
"You just have to be nice. You say 'hey bud, sit down. I'll get you a glass of water. You know take a break.' You got to make it a no big deal," says Capron.
The training also sheds light on different approaches underage drinkers might take to trick you into serving them.
"They may come up to the bar and order four or five drinks that they intend to take back to their table. So we want the bartender to pour those drinks for them and offer to take them back to the table and when they get to the table, then they can card everyone that's at that table," says Reynolds.
The Jackson Recovery Center and Police will have a town hall meeting to talk more about the program and hopefully team up with the county's bartenders.
That meeting will take place at the Sioux City Public Museum April 17th at 7 PM.