The college community continues its efforts to reduce underage drinking and its potentially fatal effects. One of the local schools, Boston University announced last week that it is increasing law enforcement patrols specifically targeted at campus alcohol use.
BU states that alcohol related hospitalizations of students is up 7 percent so far this semester and that last week alone 11 students were transported to local hospital emergency rooms for treatment of alcohol overdoses. Five of the 11 were not of legal age to drink. In the previous semester, there were 90 hospitalizations of BU students for intoxication, an increase of half a dozen from the previous year’s fall semester.
Overall, BU reports that alcohol related incidents have been declining from 248 in 2010-1011 to 211 the next year and then 158 in the 2012-2013 school year. They attribute the decline to implementation of a program modeled on one from the University of California that includes increased patrols in “party neighborhoods”, breaking up loud parties, arresting lawbreakers and publicizing enforcement data. They also began requiring freshmen participation in an online alcohol education course.
Some of the information available in this course is seen in the chart below. The information here is meant to contradict the misconception that drinking to intoxication is something “everyone does”. The fact is that the heavy drinkers are in the minority.
# drinks usually consumed % drinkers at each level % at each level reporting an alcohol-related injury in the past school year
1 13 2
2 21 4
3 18 9
4 15 14
5 12 18
6 8 23
7 4 26
8 3 30
9+ 5 33
Source: Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study, 1993, 1997, 1999, and 2001 national surveys.
BU officials are not sure why there has been an increase in alcohol related incidents after the previous years’ success in reducing this behavior. They are working with Boston and Brookline police departments to address the issue in efforts to keep their students and the school community safe.