Underage college students hoping to score a six-pack of beer, box of wine or bottle of booze, beware. The Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission and Treasurer Deb Goldberg have launched this year's "Operation Safe Campus" to put a dent in underage drinking on college campuses and in surrounding communities as the school year gets underway.
Since enhanced enforcement programs launched in 2005, the ABCC has found 11,901 minors in possession of or transporting alcoholic beverages, 3,569 adults procuring alcohol for minors, and 1,690 individuals in possession of false identification. Officials have confiscated 5,507 cases of beer and 4,680 bottles of alcohol, which the ABCC said prevented delivery to 74,260 underage individuals.
"Increased enforcement saves lives and prevents tragedies before they happen. We want to make sure that underage people are aware that drinking and driving can have devastating consequences upon them and those they love," said Goldberg, who oversees the ABCC.
Last year, the ABCC's heightened enforcement busted delivery apps like DoorDash and Uber Eats for delivering alcohol to Boston area college students who placed orders using fake out-of-state IDs. The treasurer's office said the underage students "were found to be waiting for the alcohol delivery on street corners with empty duffle bags and suitcases."
Last year alone, the ABCC found 691 minors in possession of or transporting alcoholic beverages, 92 adults procuring alcohol for minors, 178 individuals in possession of false identification, and confiscated 289 cases of beer and 168 bottles of alcohol. Bars and liquor stores were charged with 263 counts of sale to underage persons, the agency said.
This year's "Operation Safe Campus" will again keep an eye on delivery services, but will also focus on "the parking lots and surrounding streets of liquor stores and bars that have had significant problems with underage individuals purchasing alcoholic beverages with false identification or through adults buying alcoholic beverages for them," the treasurer's office said.
Massachusetts is among the top 10 states for binge drinking, Goldberg's office said. Almost 21% of Massachusetts residents ages 12 to 20 reported alcohol use in the past month and 11.81% reported binge alcohol use in the last month, compared to national averages of 17.32% and 10.14%, respectively.
The overall cost of alcohol abuse by youth in Massachusetts is estimated at $1.4 billion, Goldberg's office said.