The Collegian
Friday, September 18, 2020

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Current cases

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Current monthly positivity rate

Alcohol poisoning doubles on campus since fall 2011

The number of students transported from campus to the hospital for alcohol-related illness this semester is already more than double the total from the fall of 2011.

Before Thanksgiving break, 43 students had been transported to hospitals for alcohol-related illness, Richmond Dean Joseph Boehman said. In comparison, 21 students were taken to the hospital for alcohol-related illness in the fall of 2011, according to university police records.

A lot of the more severe alcohol-related incidents happen before fall break and with first year students, Westhampton College Dean Juliette Landphair said.

The data provided by university police showed that 30 of the hospital transports from this fall had been during the six weekends before fall break. They also showed that 10 students had been transported to the hospital for alcohol-related illness during the spring 2012 semester.

Of the transported students this semester, 21 were female, including five women who had been taken to the hospital for an alcohol-related illness more than once during their time at the university. Twenty-two of the transported students were male, with four of the men having been taken to the hospital more than once, Boehman said.The number of students who have been taken to the hospital multiple times is striking and bothersome, Landphair and Boehman said.

"Usually you'd think one time would be enough," Boehman said.

Before fall break, 49 percent of calls to which University of Richmond Emergency Medical Services employees responded were alcohol related, said junior Matt Palmisano, vice president of operations for UREMS.

He said that the typical percentage of alcohol-related calls for a semester would fall between 25 and 30 percent.

There has not been a noticeable increase in alcohol-related referrals to the deans' offices this semester, Landphair and Boehman said.

Palmisano is hoping the increased call volume is because people are more willing to call 911, he said.

Yet, Landphair and Boehman said that there is no obvious answer to the increase in hospital transports this semester.

Changes in pre-gaming, more common-source drinking, such as jungle juice, and popular energy drink and alcohol combinations were the hypothetical answers Boehman gave for the increased number of hospital transports, but he said he did not know the cause.

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Increased cases of alcohol poisoning are not specific to Richmond, but a common problem throughout Virginia, he said.

The problem may be attributed to a societal "work hard, play hard" mentality, and death by alcohol is the greatest risk to the campus, Landphair said.

Richmond and Westhampton College staff members will likely discuss how to address this problem at their mid-year retreat, but there is nothing concrete planned yet, she said.

Contact reporter Chrissy Wengloski at chrissy.wengloski@richmond.edu

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