Oxford police target fake IDs after binge drinking hospitalizations

OXFORD, Ohio -- Miami University's president says "everything's on the table" as the university tackles an epidemic of binge drinking in and around campus.

Eleven young women went to the emergency room during a three hour period last Thursday night. Sgt. Jon Varley called it a "perfect storm."

"Our officers were spending a lot of time dealing with underage intoxicated people. The fire department and EMS, they had three ambulances out and were still calling for help because they were full," Varley said.

In a written statement Thursday, Miami President Gregory Crawford said he will devote his full attention to the issue and said he was disappointed and angry at the events of last week.

"We already do extensive work, but everything's on the table," Crawford said. "I charged Student Affairs to look at everything."

Students believe what happened last Thursday was a random spike. With party houses named things like Cocktail, Chick-Inn and Coll Girls, they said drinking culture in a college town is nothing new.

"¬There are 17,000 students at this school," Eric Wallach, who works at a local bar said. "I don't think 11 is indicative of anything."

One of the problems is the prevalence of fake IDs, according to Oxford police. Many of those students hospitalized for binge drinking last week were in possession of fake IDs.

"A lot of times these are pretty effective, because just the average person can't recognize or won't be able to recognize what's real and what's not," Varley said.

The university has begun a transition that they hope will help. New student ID cards will contain the date of birth for the student, and the bars will ask for that in addition to a state ID.

But it isn't an easily-won fight. Some of the fake Ids are so good that they even have security holograms on them. Police said they're finding the sophisticated fakes every weekend.

"A lot of them tell us that they've gone online and purchased them," Varley said. "There's websites that they can order them from. The websites have a disclaimer saying they're just for fun or not for legal use or whatnot, but a lot of websites will give them two in case they lose one."

Miami's board of trustees met Thursday and will have their full meeting Friday.

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