GW says local bars market to women

University officials said they are noticing a trend among local bars to target female freshmen in advertisements after a few women at GW faced hospitalization for consuming too much alcohol during the first few weeks of the semester.

Mike Walker, senior assistant dean of students, said seven of the eight students hospitalized this semester for alcohol-related reasons were female students. One of the students did not actually go to the hospital but was treated by the Emergency Medical Response Group. The others went to the GW Hospital. Walker said the severity of the students’ physical conditions varied.

Alcohol is usually more harmful to women because they metabolize substances differently and tend to be physically smaller than men, Walker said.

Substance Abuse Prevention Center Manager Candace Miller said she is concerned with the influx of advertisements from local clubs and bars trying to entice young women to visit their establishments.

During the summer, the Alcohol Beverage Control cracked down on local establishments serving underage drinkers, but Walker said the investigations are not doing enough.

“The numbers don’t lie,” he said. Walker said the University continues to see fliers and advertisements meant to lure underage students, and the crackdown has had little success so far.

Miller said the SAPC is creating the Alcohol Advisory Committee to combat local bars that serve underage drinkers and to consider gender differences. The committee also will delve into other campus issues involving alcohol, Walker said.

Earlier in the semester, community facilitators offered programming intended to educate students about alcohol consumption and knowing one’s appropriate limits. Walker said these types of programs might be an indication as to why fewer students faced hospitalizations this year than last year at about the same time. In the past three weeks, no reports of GW students getting treated for alcohol-related incidents have surfaced.

But Walker said one student going to the hospital for alcohol-related illness in a semester is too many.

“We go into each weekend hoping against hope that there won’t be a fatality or injury to one of our students,” he said.

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