We have entered the fall season, a lovely time of year in Ohio marked by migrating geese, nut-gathering squirrels, pumpkin spice lattés at Starbucks and an increase in alcohol-related incidents here at Case Western Reserve University.
So far this academic year, CWRU Police Department and our Emergency Medical Services counterparts have taken around 15 students to the emergency room for evaluation/treatment of alcohol-related issues. We don’t do this for the fun of it, but rather to ensure the safety of the intoxicated person in the same way we would look after someone suffering an asthma attack–the difference being that people can’t control when they have an asthma attack.
The legal drinking age in Ohio is 21. This is a college campus, and people are going to use alcohol. However there is hopefully a line somewhere between using alcohol and using it to the point where stomach pumping becomes necessary.
Excessive alcohol consumption can be a life-threatening issue, either as a direct result of the intoxication or from related effects like falling down stairs or driving drunk. Intoxication can also make you more vulnerable to criminal activity ranging from sexual assault to robbery depending on where you are as your judgement and reflexes decline.
If you are with someone who may need medical attention or can no longer care for themselves due to intoxication please contact someone—CWRU PD, Residence Life or someone who can get them the medical help they need, which will always be the priority. If a police or medical authority determines that a trip to the hospital is necessary, that is what will happen. If you don’t like other people making decisions for you, that’s something else to consider before launching into the extreme intoxication phase.
Anyone who has worked as a police officer for more than a week usually has a few drunk stories to tell—some are funny in the sense of odd places or positions you find people passed out (restrooms, shrubbery, late night restaurants and so on). Others are not so funny, such as fighting with drunks who are very apologetic the next day or seeing young people die or seriously injure themselves as a result of a few bad decisions.
If you are going to drink, a little moderation and pacing can go a long way. Let’s look out for each other.