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Alcohol incidents up

Drunken-driving arrests fall despite overall increase

 by Brian Indrelunas  published on Friday, October 14, 2005


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The number of alcohol-related incidents reported at ASU's Tempe campus this semester is more than double the number reported before midterm week last fall.

Nearly 110 alcohol-related incidents occurring on or near the Tempe campus have been listed in daily ASU police logs during the first seven weeks of this semester.

During the first seven weeks of the fall 2004 semester, 53 incidents were listed in the logs.

Seventy incidents were reported in the first seven weeks of the spring 2005 semester.

Despite the overall increase, drunken-driving incidents have decreased from 31 during the first seven weeks of last spring to eight in the first part of this semester.

"There's three immediate issues and usually a fourth sub-issue that we find with students and drinking," said Brandon Banks, Tempe police spokesman. "First of all, and the most serious of all, is DUI."

Alcohol-related crashes claimed 470 lives statewide in 2003, he said. Tempe statistics were not available.

The number of underage drinking incidents reported at the Tempe campus over the first seven weeks of the semester increased from 43 in fall 2004 to 98 this fall.

This drove the overall on-campus increase from the first part of fall 2004 to the first part of fall 2005.

In Tempe, charges of underage drinking, using a fake ID to enter a bar and disorderly conduct often result from student drinking, Banks said.

Banks said police made 11,352 arrests on those three charges in downtown Tempe on Friday and Saturday nights in 2004.

ASU police reported 276 alcohol-related arrests in 2004, 19 percent higher than the number of liquor-related arrests in 2003, according to an annual report from the ASU Department of Public Safety.

This fall, Tempe police and a University department have launched new education efforts to address alcohol-related issues and other safety concerns.

"It's not just a police issue," said ASU spokeswoman Terri Shafer. "The real focus has been programs through Student Health and Wellness."

This fall, Health and Wellness Promotion is pilot testing an online alcohol-education class, director Karen Moses said.

Among the topics of the "Alcohol Wise" class are metabolism, blood-alcohol concentration, safe-partying tips and information about mixing alcohol and other drugs.

Health and Wellness has also started a marketing effort to publicize statistics detailing the average ASU student's drinking behavior.

"[Students] tend to overestimate the amount that other students drink," Moses said. "Research has shown that if you address those misconceptions, the overall drinking rate will come down."

Among the findings publicized by Health and Wellness Promotion are that 66 percent of ASU students drank alcohol five days or less in a month and that 69 percent had four or fewer drinks the last time they partied.

The statistics reflect answers of 738 ASU students who participated in the spring 2004 National College Health Assessment.

Reach the reporter at brian.indrelunas@asu.edu.



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