Alcohol awareness: it’s your call

Dear Editor,

At UTM, there has been a spike in the number of medical calls due to alcohol consumption requiring hospital conveyance of students by ambulance services.

In 2013, nine students were taken to hospital by ambulance because of excessive drinking—completely preventable incidents that put intoxicated students at risk, burdened friends caring for them, and strained the resources of responding police, ambulance, and fire services. Some of those conveyed to hospital were under the age of 19. Most of those at risk were students engaged in binge-drinking in residence social gatherings and students attending pub events. The gender distribution of those requiring hospital conveyances was about equal.

Excessive drinking leads to intoxication and in some cases to alcohol poisoning: a dangerous step beyond. The risks of ingesting alcoholic beverages to excess include choking on one’s vomit, unconsciousness, irregular heartbeat, hypothermia, hypoglycemia, and seizures. Any of the risks may lead to permanent brain damage and death. Canadian university students have died after binge-drinking events. Unchecked alcohol consumption can also lead to dependency issues that could linger for the rest of one’s life.

In public places and common areas on campus, intoxication by alcohol is a provincial offence under the Liquor Licence Act. Intoxicated students and visitors at UTM have been charged for being intoxicated in public places. A few ended up spending a night in custody.

Aside from the health risks, intoxication by alcohol renders a person less capable of judging events as they unfold. The likelihood of committing a criminal offence, be it fighting, impaired driving, destroying property, or committing sexual assault, is higher when a person is unable to make good decisions. Being intoxicated by alcohol during a crime does not lessen the responsibility of the offender, nor does it reduce the penalty. Intoxicated persons are also more apt to become victims of crime. Approximately half of the assaults and sexual assaults that occur on campus are alcohol-related.

UTM is a place of education and personal growth. Stay safe and do not fall victim to alcohol abuse.

Corporal Charles Helewa

Campus Police

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