A minor issue

It’s the same story every semester.

The doe-eyed 18-year-olds show up to campus with no adult supervision, essentially on their own.

They have this freedom, this wonderful freedom.

So what do they do?

They drink like fish.

According to Stewart Adams, program coordinator at the Arizona State University Police Department, the most Minor in Consumption (MIC) tickets are doled out in the first two months of the school yearIMG_4007

“During the first month, depending on how many officers are available, we arrest between four to five people a night,” Adams says. “And roughly 20 to 30 people a week.”

“Luckily, it dies off as the semester progresses, but it never goes away," he says.

Adams has been with the ASU Police Department for 36 years and says that in his time the number has always been in the same range, with some years being a little higher and some being lower.

“In 2012 there were 530 arrests for liquor violations on all four campuses and in 2013 there were 473,” Adams says.

He says he sees the same pattern over and over.

“Every year there is this group of new students coming in with no structure and no rules to abide by,” Adams says. “They start eating different stuff, not sleeping, staying out late and once they start that they decide to drink and experiment.”

Adams also says that a lot of students get themselves back on track within the first month after seeing what that behavior can do to them.

“What the police here at ASU need to do is have consistent enforcement,” Adams says. “We need them to know if a student violates the law there are consequences.”

Adams says the police mostly get calls to off-campus housing but he says there are many calls to residence halls as well.

“When the fraternities were on campus, the majority of the alcohol offenses were also on campus,” Adams says. “Now that they are off campus, we get more calls to go out there.”

An ASU student, who chose to be referred to as "Taylor," says she received an MIC after attending a small party with her friends.

"It did change my behavior," she says. "I'm definitely more careful now, I actually rarely drink because of it."

"I'm terrified of getting another one because for my second offense the minimum punishment is one night in jail plus a fine," she says.

Taylor says she felt pressure to drink because that's all anyone wants to do on the weekend, she says.

"I'm definitely more careful now, since the punishment is more serious," she says. "I was lucky and got the ticket taken off my permanent record, bit it's not something that I want to risk or ever experience again."

ASU’s Health and Wellness has prevention programs provided for students and alcohol awareness classes.

Director of ASU Health and Wellness Karen Moses says alcohol education is an important component of wellness education provided to students.

“Online education includes Alcohol Wise and Alcohol e-Chekup to Go,” Moses says. “Another online education program, Under the Influence is often required for students who have violated ASU alcohol policy.”

Moses says there are various other presentations that the university has for students.

“Time to Go Out is a presentation that is designed to facilitate discussion on situations involving alcohol and how to respond to reduce risk,” Moses says. “Step Up is a presentation that focuses on how individuals can take action when they observe situations that could lead to harm.”

“The Red Watch band program pairs CPR training with education on how to recognize and respond when someone’s alcohol use has become a potential medical emergency.”

Adams says the ASU Police have a prevention program as well in which they can be invited to speak at the university for clubs and classes.

"We are always able to do education and prevention," Adams says. "We try and do as much as we can in residence halls and within the Greek life to promote education. We play games and have activities such as having the students wear beer goggles to show what intoxication levels do to their vision."

"We try and do as much as we can," he says.

Reach the reporter at Alexa.Dangelo@asu.edu or via Twitter @andangelo15

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