Hartford Police: Underage drinking a problem at concerts

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The Hartford Police Department is stepping up patrols at the Zac Brown Band concert after a spike in underage drinking.

Brian Foley, Deputy Chief with Hartford Police, explained the increase, saying, “Parking lot patrols, our officers on foot, on bike, and in vehicles looking for underage drinking, obvious kids who are underage abusing alcohol.”

Deputy Chief Foley said underage drinking at concerts is a big problem.

7 6 17 hartford concert 2 Hartford Police: Underage drinking a problem at concerts
(Photo: Noelle Gardner/WTNH)

“This year, we noticed a somewhat severe increase in abuse of alcohol by minors at these concerts and it looks like the open keg party,” he stated. “The fields of the 80s have turned into these concerts or people come and it’s just open drinking.”

Foley said during some recent large concerts, dozens of minors were sent to the emergency room.  Foley added, “At the Future concert we had a month or so ago we had 70 or more transports to area hospitals.” Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center was recently flooded with underage drinkers.

Doctor Steven Wolf, Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center said, “The ones that end up getting transported to the hospitals are those that can’t even stay awake, can’t even keep their heads up, or [are] vomiting. [A victim might] have to be intubated to protect her airway and to make sure that they’re breathing well. It’s not mildly tipsy.”

That also takes resources away from area hospitals.

7 6 17 hartford concert Hartford Police: Underage drinking a problem at concerts
(Photo: Noelle Gardner/WTNH)

Doctor Wolf added, “It burdens all of the hospitals around the area…Which can unfortunately increase the length of time it takes for us to see other patients.”

Deputy Chief Foley is asking parents not to send their kids to a concert without adult supervision.

“We have parents dropping off underage kids at these concerts unsupervised and hoping they make good decisions and not get involved in alcohol abuse or any drug use…This is not the venue to do that. This is not the place to drop your kids off and hope they make good decisions,” said Foley.