Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday October 29, 2002
WASHINGTON ÷ Alcohol-related student hospitalizations have almost doubled from this time last year, with at least 28 so far this fall, George Washington University officials report. Up from 16 last year, the incidents are divided evenly between freshmen and upperclassmen, with a majority of female students reported.
GW officials attribute a rise in student hospitalizations for alcohol-related incidents to an expanded effort to increase alcohol awareness on campus and the necessity to report potentially dangerous situations.
"This year we have noticed that students are calling in for their friends (to be taken to the hospital)," said Brian Hamluk, director of the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education. "When students are recognizing when their friends have had too much to drink, that's a good thing."
Students needing medical attention for alcohol consumption are automatically taken to the GW Hospital.
Hamluk has been working on an alcohol awareness campaign since he came to the university two and a half years ago. He said more students have reported friends' severe intoxication to their community facilitators this year.
Students taken to the hospital must be "visibly intoxicated," Hamluk said. Extent of intoxication is determined by the person who initially reports the incident to medical personnel. A student must be either physically sick at the time of the call, show signs they will get sick in the future or pose a threat to themselves or those around them.
Hamluk also noted that everyone has a different standard when determining who requires hospitalization. The standards for hospitalizations have not changed this year, he said, only awareness.
Hamluk said students are usually transported to the hospital after a third party calls university police, often after students return to their residence halls.
"We're not willing to wait for a serious incident to occur, such as a student death," Hamluk said.
When students arrive at the hospital, they are forced to consume fluids and stay in the emergency room until they are "detoxed," or the effects of the alcohol have worn off, Hamluk said.