Alcohol transports continue to rise

The number of students transported to GW Hospital for alcohol-related cases this semester reached a new high, a top administrator said Wednesday.

Ninety-six students were transported to the hospital for intoxication from the start of the academic year to Oct. 20, Assistant Dean of Students Tara Pereira said – a jump from 68 students last year, but only slightly higher than the 92 students transported during the 2009-2010 academic year. She said this year’s transports are a peak, as numbers have steadily increased each year – aside from last year’s anomaly.

The number of students calling in alcohol-related emergencies reached 35 percent for this school year, 10 percent higher than last academic year. In the 2009-2010 academic year, 30 percent of transports resulted from a help call.

“I don’t think there is any more drinking than the lots of drinking that we know happens,” Pereira said. “I’m not really sure what the uptick is from, but since there has also been an increase in the number of callers, I’m not enormously worried about the increase in the number of transports.”

Those numbers include phone calls friends and other members of the community make to GW’s medical response team, EMeRG, and the University Police Department – but not cases where UPD approaches and hospitalizes an individual.

In March, Pereira said increased student awareness that callers do not face any judiciary action from the University makes students more comfortable calling.

She also credited the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education for the boost in calls, citing its Be Wiser and Every Colonial Counts campaigns, aimed at educating students on drinking responsibly and identifying warnings of over-consumption.

Since the University’s judiciary arm has divided into the offices of Civility and Community Standards and Student Rights and Responsibilities earlier this semester, CADE is focusing solely on education and prevention, Pereira said then.

She added because CADE is now under the umbrella of the Center for Student Engagement, it has more “manpower” to organize programming efforts and arrange more initiatives in residence halls for Halloween weekend, for example.

As Halloween approaches, she said she hopes students will remember CADE’s tips for drinking responsibly – like offering friends a non-alcoholic drink after they have surpassed their limits and keeping in mind that “caffeine makes a jittery drunk and showers make a wet drunk.”

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