Alcohol-related hospitalizations increase

Alcohol-related hospitalizations in the first two weekends of the semester more than doubled this year, although arrests decreased significantly, University officials said.

Seven students were transported to the hospital because of excessive alcohol consumption, five during the first weekend. At the same time last year, three students were hospitalized and only one incident occurred during the first weekend.

In the 2002-2003 academic year, 81 students were hospitalized, compared to 43 the previous year, a significant increase.

Brain Hamluk, director of the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education, attributed the increase in hospitalizations to students feeling more comfortable calling an ambulance for their friends.

“When a student is in that kind of position, they need to make the phone call,” Hamluk said. “Students calling in is a good sign.”

Hamluk said freshmen typically make up the largest percentage of hospitalizations. But this year, the same number – three – of sophomores and freshmen have been hospitalized.

Officials said they are closely monitoring the sophomore class this year despite historical trends because for the first time last year, more sophomores than freshmen were hospitalized.

Hamluk said he hopes the high numbers for sophomores and juniors will decrease this year.

“As you move along in college, your decision-making abilities change,” he said.

Community Facilitators, the Student Association and Colonial Inauguration staff worked with CADE and University Police to emphasize to freshmen the importance of seeking medical attention for heavily intoxicated students.

Three students have been arrested for underage drinking so far this year, compared to 13 at this time last year.

CADE is targeting GW females for alcohol education. Out of the seven students taken to the hospital in the first two weekends of school, five of them were female – a trend that has carried over from 2002. All three of the students that have been arrested for underage drinking this year have been women.

Officials said they fear continued binge drinking, noting that a female student was hospitalized with a .353 blood alcohol level last year. A .4 BAL is medically considered brain dead.

Female students said they are not surprised by the large percentage of females hospitalized.

“It’s a lot easier for girls to drink in college. Basically, all they have to do is get into a club and a guy will buy them a drink,” freshman Meghan Gibas said.

“Girls are practically recruited to go to frat parties,” freshman Alexis Burke said.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.