Volume 94, Issue 9

Thursday, September 14, 2000


USC elections could get facelift

Frank sets sights on UWO prof

Council hops aboard new campaign

USC and Health Unit target drinking

Student leaders fight for more federal support


USC and Health Unit target drinking

By Amy Daw

Gazette Writer

The Middlesex-London Health Unit has initiated a campaign in co-operation with the University Students' Council to raise awareness among students about the effects of heavy drinking.

Jan Tomlinson, public health nurse for the Middlesex-London Health Unit, explained students are not aware of the long-term consequences of binge drinking.

Binge drinking can cause poor academic performance, injuries, and alchol poisoning, she said. The MLHU defines heavy drinking as five or more drinks at one time and two-thirds of Canadian undergraduate students reported heavy drinking on a single occasion.

"A 130 pound female who drinks five drinks in three hours will have a blood alcohol level of over two times the legal limit. The alcohol will remain in her blood stream eleven hours after her last drink," Tomlinson explained. Body size, gender and previous drinking experience, does not affect the rate in which alcohol leaves the body.

Tomlinson and the health unit regularly distribute, Know When To Draw The Line, a publication by Kirk Sinclair of the Alcohol and Drug Services of the Thames Valley counselling centre. According to the publication it is particularly important for those who are affected by graduated licencing to watch their alcohol consumption. These individuals are required to have a blood alcohol level of zero. Even an average female, who had her last drink at 1 a.m., would still have a blood alcohol concentration over the legal limit well into the next day, Sinclair said.

Another problem associated with binge drinking is the rate at which the alcohol enters the blood stream. "There is a time delay of 90 minutes from when alcohol is consumed to being totally absorbed into the body," Sinclair stated. Even if your brain is able to tell you that you have consumed enough alcohol and you stop drinking, you may still have a condsiderable amount of alcohol left for absorption. This increases your risk for blood alcohol poisoning, he said.

The MLHU and the USC will be hosting various events during Alcohol Awareness Week, Tomlinson said. On Sept. 18, there will be an interactive trivia game in the Atrium of the University Community Centre. Throughout the week, both the MLHU, the USC and the University Police Department, will be working with residence staff and hosting information nights.

Const. Wendy McGowan, community safety officer for the UPD states their main objective is one of prevention. "We take a holistic approach. As students, you're here for academics but we recognize you want to have fun. We want you to make good choices and to be safe," she said. There is a link between vulnerability and excessive consumption of alcohol. When students don't drink responsibly and plan ahead, there may be dire consequences, McGowan explained.

Andrea Boulay, VP-campus issues for the USC, explained the age of first year students is getting younger and this can lead to greater pressure to drink. "It is increasingly important to educate students on the dangers and the safety issues associated with excessive drinking," she said.

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