The cost of underage drinking as college students return

Published: Aug. 26, 2022 at 6:37 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - With the start of the fall semester, thousands of students and an influx of a long-time problem will return to Fargo; underage drinking.

It’s a problem that has cost many their money, jobs and even loved ones.

Becky Johnson lost her son, Isaiah, who was killed in a crash where the driver, a minor, drank at a bar after not being carded.

“Never to be brought back again. I never get to see my child again. He was 21 he still had his entire life ahead of him and it was taken from him in an instant. And I can never get that back again.”

It’s a tragic scenario, and there are measures in place for prevention, such as the mandatory server classes at Fargo Cass Public Health, which stress the importance of grabbing ID’s, as well as spotting out the fake ones.

However, fake ID’s are getting harder to find, even with technology.

“The better we get at combatting them, it seems like the better they get at making them,” said Myckul Smith, who’s been bartending in Fargo for the last 14 years. “That’s the most frustrating part right now with fake ID’s is the high quality fake’s we’re seeing. These things are passing black light tests and scan tests, so the more resources we have as bartenders and managers the better that we can be to combat that.”

The Fargo liquor control board has promoted for high-quality scanners to be use citywide to catch more fake ID’s however it has not been made standard.

For Becky Johnson, she wants more accountability on the establishments, and for minors to think twice, of the future and of others.

“If you are going to choose to drink when you’re underage, because we know it’s going to happen, do not get behind the wheel. It could lead to irreparable damage, taking someone’s life, having a long-term lasting effect that you can never ever take back.”

Fargo police say they are going to be picking up fake ID’s from bars more frequently and minors who are caught with a fakes could face a fine of up to 500 dollars.