Despite reports of lackluster ticket sales, Denver police are ramping up their efforts to tackle the problem of underage drinking at the annual University of Colorado-Colorado State game, slated for Saturday at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium.
The heightened enforcement of underage drinking law related to the college event comes just days after a University of Colorado student died after drinking with a friend and a 19-year-old Colorado State University student died after drinking and becoming unconscious.
More than 52,000 tickets have been sold for the game, with many of them going to students at both of the schools. And many of those students are underclassmen that may be tempted to engage in drinking alcoholic beverages as part of the game festivities.
To prevent an increase in underage drinking related to the game, the Denver Police Department is teaming up with officers from the Colorado Liquor Enforcement Division to enforce the underage drinking laws.
The operation is funded by an “Enforcement of Underage Drinking Laws” grant that was awarded to the DPD and the Denver Office of Drug Strategy by the Liquor Enforcement Division. It supports both uniformed and undercover officers in the operation with the goal of enforcing the drinking laws.
Youth under the age of 21 found to be in possession of alcohol will be issued a citation. Citations will also be issued to adults who provide or sell alcohol to minors. The DPD adds that it is also illegal to sell, serve or give alcohol to underage youth even if it occurs in a private home.
In addition, bars, restaurants, liquor stores and any establishment in the area that sells alcohol are being asked by the DPD to review their sales procedures with their employees to reduce the likelihood of a minor being sold or served alcohol.
The DPD states that violation of underage drinking laws by minors can affect employment, driving privileges and scholarship eligibility in Colorado.
The issue of underage drinking on campus and at campus events has become a major issue for college administrators. At the University of Colorado’s Boulder campus, all new students are required to take an online “Alcohol-Wise” course before enrolling in the fall semester. In addition, student orientation includes a mandatory presentation on alcohol and drugs. New students who do not attend are not allowed to register for classes until they have completed the program.
On August 26, student Michael Hoffman, 21, was found unconscious on the steps of an off-campus building after drinking with a friend in Boulder. Though the Boulder County Coroner’s had not released the cause and manner of death, CU-Boulder officials said the student’s death “is a challenge to us to continue our efforts in alcohol and drug education.”
On Saturday, September 10, CSU student Sascha Franzel died after drinking with friends in Fort Collins. She became unresponsive and stopped breathing, said police, who added that it was too early to know if alcohol played a role in her death.