Archive for October, 2012

Washington State University loses student to alcohol

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

We extend our condolences to the Washington State University community and the family of Kenneth Hummel, who died this weekend from alcohol poisoning.

The 18-year old Hummel had a blood alcohol reading of 0.40 when he died early Saturday morning. Police found him unconscious in his dorm room, after his peers had called the police.

In the wake of campus alcohol courses, peer intervention groups, extended campus counseling, and more, it is sometimes difficult to understand how nearly 2,000 students die annually from alcohol related injuries. Within the next week, we will begin posting testimonials from college students that answer the questions, “What is the single largest determinant in your drinking? And what most deters you from drinking to excess?”

11 Rice students hospitalized for alcohol

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Eleven Rice University students were hospitalized during this year’s annual “Night of Decadence,” a student-organized Halloween party hosted by a dormitory. The event has occurred since the 1970s and is a student run party, and students of  legal age are allowed to drink.

Rice, like many colleges, has struggled to change it’s alcohol culture, and even experimented with a hard liquor ban earlier this year. And yet, in sending eleven students to the hospital in the course of an annual Halloween party, eleven students were hospitalized. Rice officials said,

That is a large number. It is larger than it has been historically by a large amount actually, so we are concerned about that. We re-evaluate constantly. We are in constant dialogue with our student leaders to find the most effective ways to keep our students safe, to keep our students healthy. (And) to make sure that they have the proper information to make appropriate choices.

The ages of the students have not been released, and we will not use this as a forum for speculation. However, it is difficult not to recognize that increased restraint might not necessarily lead to responsibility.

For more information on the story, click here.


Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

About 2 in 3 high school students who drink do so to the point of intoxication, that is, they binge drink (defined as having five or more drinks in a row), typically on multiple occasions.


Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to more than 4,700 deaths among underage youth, that is, persons less than 21 years of age, in the United States each year. –CDC

Indiana promotes new medical amnesty policy

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

The state of Indiana recently passed a medical amnesty policy, and the attorney general’s office has now set to work making students aware of the new law. Indiana’s new law will encourage students to call for help for their dangerously intoxicated peers. However, until students are aware that the law exists, they will likely continue to avoid calling 911 for fear of getting themselves or their friends in trouble. You can read more about the law here.

Indiana is one of several states to have passed a medical amnesty policy. Other states to have passed similar policies include New Jersey and Michigan. An extensive study by Cornell University demonstrated that medical amnesty (or Good Samaritan) policies have decreased the number of students who did not call for help from 3.8% to 1.5%.

Vermont holds symposium on binge drinking

Monday, October 15th, 2012

Recognizing the binge drinking epidemic on college campuses throughout the state, the Vermont Department of Health recently sponsored a symposium to address the issue. The symposium included subject matter experts and offered educators the opportunity to share best practices. Vermont’s reported binge drinking and marijuana use rates (at 13 of the state’s colleges) are higher than the national average. 76% of students drink and 53% of students binge drink while 38% reported using marijuana.

Vermont’s commissioner of health, Dr. Harry Chen, noted that Vermont ranks in the top five states for binge drinking. He also conceded that the issue is difficult to tackle, “There’s no way that we’re going to eliminate college drinking…But the state and colleges can encourage [students] to be responsible so they don’t drink and drive, rely on binge drinking to enjoy themselves and put themselves at risk of violence, suicide and sexual assaults.” Chen, and the symposium itself, demonstrate a practical approach to curtailing binge drinking, yet the occasion and his comments indicate that moving the needle will be difficult in a culture where “drinking education” is solely peer-to-peer.

Teen drinking and driving declines

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

While a shocking 11.4% of the alcohol consumed in the United States is consumed by underage drinkers, a recent CDC report claims that 10% of high school drinkers report drinking and driving. Any drinking and driving is too much drinking and driving, but teen drinking and driving has fallen by more than half since 1991. Although significantly cutting drinking and driving is a laudable accomplishment, it does not indicate that these high drinkers are making more responsible choices with alcohol.

Of those teens that reported drinking and driving, a startling 85% of them said they binge drank before driving. It appears as though drinking and driving has developed a negative stigma since 1991, which makes roads safer. However, discouraging drinking and driving does not appear to be halting dangerous consumption. This level of over consumption puts teenage lives in a different type of danger. Without the opportunity to learn to make responsible choices, one can only wonder if drinking to such dangerous levels will increase?


Click here for more on the CDC’s report. 

Alcohol enemas latest fad at college parties?

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

A nearly-fatal alcohol enema incident last week at a fraternity at the University of Tennessee has led to greater curiosity regarding college students’ alcohol consumption habits. While it is no secret that more than 1,800 students die annually due to binge drinking, this incident forces officials to consider other ways students might be chasing a buzz. Irresponsible behaviors such as ingesting alcohol through the rectum or combining alcohol with prescription drugs increase the effects of alcohol and can pose even greater risks than binge drinking. The unfortunate accident at the University of Tennessee indicates the heinous consequences of irresponsible consumption, and indicates that students must be taught to drink responsibly from someone other than their peers.

Read more information here.