D.C.

Alcohol illness transports up 70 percent at George Washington University

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(WJLA) - Drinking and imbibing are, for many students, a typical part of the college experience. At George Washington University, though, a dramatic uptick in students drinking themselves sick has administrators concerned.

The GW Hatchet reports that campus police have reported a 70 percent year-to-date increase in students being hospitalized because they drank too much. At its peak, officials are reporting that 14 students per week were going to the hospital over the first two months of the academic year.

In total, GWU's Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski says that 139 students have been taken to the hospital for alcohol-related illness through Oct. 31.

Asked if he was noticing more people drinking this year over previous years, Sam Windfield, a sophomore says, "Yeah I have. Every time I walk past the freshman dorm there's always constant activity; there always people getting emerg."

"Emerg" refers to the campus ambulance, which has transported dozens of drunk students this fall.

"I'm concerned, I'm concerned about what our students might be doing and what might be leading to this and anytime that their safety is compromised, its something that our staff is immediately going to look into," Konwerski says.

School officials say the trend is especially troubling among this years freshman class.

"That's serious, something I don't know if the school can do something about it, but something needs to be done," student Danni Jackson says.

The university is doing a few things to combat the problem. The freshman class went through alcohol awareness training, There's currently an online tutorial to raise awareness of alcohol and drug use, and they often send out tweets or texts to students about binge drinking, before big party weekends.

One officer told the Hatchet that it hasn't been uncommon lately to find multiple students "passed out in a bush" each weekend.

A university spokesman told the Hatchet that they're especially concerned that many of the students being transported are freshmen.

READ MORE at gwhatchet.com.

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