Destructive Decisions — Making tough choices while drinking can have drastic effects for future
River Huston, who is an amazing speaker, will be here at 7 p.m. Oct. 10 in the Student Union Building ballroom to host an enlightening and fun conversation about how alcohol and drugs impact decision-making, safe sex and sexual assault. Choosing to drink on a Friday night is one thing, but making a decision that will literally change the entire course of your life is something to discuss.
If you choose to go out and drink, you may be thinking about what you will do in the next few hours, but do you ever think about how those few hours may change the rest of your life?
I am new to this campus and to my position here, and this fall I have been paying extra close attention to the news when it relates to alcohol-related incidents on college campuses.
Following the national news in the past month, I’ve read about a Fresno State fraternity pledge who died of alcohol poisoning within the first two weeks of school. This 6-foot-5-inch, 325-pound freshman was placed in a “sober up room” in the fraternity house and was later found unconscious.
In Indiana, a Purdue University freshman died after falling from a fifth-floor balcony while drinking at an off-campus party.
A would-be college freshman intending to attend the University of Oklahoma died of alcohol poisoning at a “goodbye party” before he headed off to campus. And this past weekend a fraternity at the University of Tennessee was suspended after a student was hospitalized for alcohol poisoning involving alcohol enemas (that’s right, a boxed wine enema).
Those are just a few of the many stories that have made national front-page headlines in the first month of school, and I know there are countless other stories.
National news aside, I read the local news, pay attention to The Argonaut or listen to the radio — our campus is certainly no exception when it comes to risky behavior related to alcohol. Driving to work this morning, I heard on the radio that there have been three alcohol-related falls in the last month between the University of Idaho and Washington State University campuses, with the latest being on Friday evening when a student attempted to climb from a third story balcony to a second story balcony and slipped. He was flown to Spokane for treatment.
We’ve had alcohol related hospitalizations and many underage drinking citations, with more than 100 minor in possession citations in the first month of classes alone. It’s worth noting that many of the major tragic events related to our campus in years past have been alcohol related.
In this college culture we are faced with the consequences of alcohol abuse and irresponsible drinking on a regular basis, and we each have an opportunity to stop contributing to the statistics.
The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that there are more than 1,800 alcohol-related college student deaths each year and 600,000 students who unintentionally injure themselves while under the influence. In addition, 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape each year. They also report that 400,000 students between the age of 18 and 24 are having unprotected sex while drinking and 100,000 were too intoxicated to know if they gave consent.
Clearly there is something to talk about, and we invite you to be a part of that conversation. This week you will see posters around campus for SEXED with River Huston, and I encourage you to mark your calendar. Huston will be here to entertain us, enlighten us and encourage us to think about how “fun” today can change the rest of our lives.
For more information, visit www.uidaho.edu/VandalHealth
Shannon Haselhuhn is the UI Health Education Coordinator and can be reached at email@example.com