Excessive drinking costs U.S. colleges millions annually

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.

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

Related Stories

Intervention method reduces binge drinking

date Jan 30, 2009

Brief but personal intervention reduces drinking among risky college drinkers, according to a research study at The University of Texas School of Public Health. Results of the study will be published in the February issue ...

Recommended for you

Soldiers cite 'Medic!' as a top hearing priority

date 2 hours ago

'Medic!', 'Hold fire!' and grid references are amongst the highest priorities for soldiers to be able to hear while on duty, according to new research from the University of Southampton.

New measures identified for newborn care in Uganda

date 3 hours ago

In Uganda, child mortality rates are improving, but progress is slower for deaths occurring in the first four weeks of life, or the newborn period, and for stillbirths. But recent evidence from local researchers ...

Should men cut back on their soy intake?

date 6 hours ago

Recently, a friend called my husband to inquire about the risks for men in consuming too much soy milk. He had read an article that described how one individual's plight led him down the path of breast enlargement, and was ...

Probing Question: What is umami?

date 6 hours ago

The next time you're at a dinner party and want to spice up the conversation, you might compliment the hosts on their umami-rich appetizers. Then wait a moment until someone invariably asks, "What's umami?"

User 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.