Excessive drinking costs U.S. colleges millions annually

March 19, 2012
Excessive drinking costs U.S. colleges millions annually
Price tag for ER visits can top $500,000 for larger universities, study finds.

(HealthDay) -- The emergency room costs of treating college students with injuries associated with alcohol-induced blackouts can be more than half a million dollars a year at a university with 40,000 or more students, a new study found.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison study included 954 who were . In the 28 days before the start of the study, male participants drank an average of 81.8 drinks and female participants drank an average of 58.7 drinks.

In the year before the study, 52 percent of males and 50 percent of females had experienced an alcohol-induced .

During the two-year study, 30 percent of males and 27 percent of females reported visiting an emergency department at least once. Their injuries ranged from to head and brain injuries.

Students who experienced frequent alcohol-related blackouts (six or more in the prior year) were 70 percent more likely to be treated at an emergency department than those who consumed the same amount of alcohol but did not experience blackouts.

The cost of emergency-department visits by students who experienced blackouts ranged from $469,000 to $546,000 per university, depending on its location.

"College alcohol abusers susceptible to blackouts put a heavy burden on the medical care system," concluded study authors Marlon Mundt and Larissa Zakletskaia, of the department of at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"Given limited campus resources, the study results support targeting efforts at preventing alcohol-related injury [among] students with a history of blackouts," the researchers said. "In our cost estimate, close to a half-million dollars could be saved in emergency-department utilization costs on a large university campus each year if interventions targeting blackout sufferers were successful."

About 44 percent of college students , according to the study.

The study appears online and in the April print issue of Health Affairs.

Explore further: Drink-fueled memory blackouts among students predict future injury risk

More information: The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about college drinking.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Older people getting smarter, but not fitter

August 31, 2015

Older populations are scoring better on cognitive tests than people of the same age did in the past —a trend that could be linked to higher education rates and increased use of technology in our daily lives, say IIASA population ...

Higher intelligence score means better physical performance

August 14, 2015

New research reveals a distinct association between male intelligence in early adulthood and their subsequent midlife physical performance. The higher intelligence score, the better physical performance, the study reveals. ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.