Underage drinking ramps up as students head back to class

Teens drinking alcoholic beverages underage (Image: Shutterstock)

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– As high school and college students head back to the classroom, the peer pressure to drink at parties and football games ramps up.

Back to school, means new fashions, getting together with friends, and coming back to school but it also means underage drinking. We talk to a lot of people on the UConn campus and in high schools, and they say it goes on, so what is the best way to keep your child safe?

Whether it is at a nightclub, bar or a basement party, underage students are finding ways to get alcohol.

When asked how bad is underage drinking, one student said, “it’s really bad, a lot of my friends are.”

“There is definitely a lot of underage drinking in high school,” said a student

“It is something that goes on in a lot of communities today,” said another student.

However, police and emergency room doctors say one of most dangerous places for underage drinkers is tailgating in the parking lot of a concert. In one three-hour period, nine Hartford area hospitals were flooded with patients after a single concert.

“We had about 70 transports,” said Dr. Steven Wolf, St. Francis Hospital. “Most of it was alcohol, under age.16, 17, 18. A lot of them were comatose, just barely breathing, some had to be intubated.”

Hartford Police are part of a task force that has been cracking down not only on underage drinkers, but the people providing alcohol and fake IDs.

“We have some night clubs that are troublesome to us and a lot of college kids coming into the city. Colleges are opening up right now and the IDs that they have are spot on. I’ve seen them. I’ve held them in my hand and I can’t tell the difference. That’s why you need people who are trained experts,” said Dep. Chief Brian Foley, Hartford Police Department.

While police are working to stop underage drinking, Dr. Wolf says safety starts at home.

“The parents need to get involved and we had one that was yelling at our EMS supervisor because we called them to come pick up their drunk child and he was yelling at the supervisor. So there is definitely a disconnect with some,” said Dr. Wolf.

So if you have a friend or know somebody who you think may have a drinking problem and is already gone too far, and if you want to get help for them, click here. 

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