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BU police to add alcohol enforcement patrols after spike in student hospitalizations for intoxication

Posted by Matt Rocheleau  February 14, 2014 01:27 PM

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Boston University Police said they plan to increase alcohol enforcement patrols earlier in the semester than usual after recent a spike in student hospitalizations for acute intoxication.

Compared to the fall semester, the number of alcohol-related hospitalizations among BU students is up 7 percent so far this semester, including 11 students who were hospitalized for acute intoxication in the past week, campus officials told the university’s news website BU Today.

BU Police Captain Robert Molloy said that the department does not normally deploy additional alcohol enforcement patrols at this time of year. Extra patrols are usually only sent out during the fall and in the warmer parts of spring.

But he said the numbers so far this semester are concerning enough to prompt action.

Starting this weekend, campus officers, some who will be in plainclothes, will patrol around and near campus, Molloy told BU Today. The crackdown on alcohol-related violations will continue “until further notice.”

And he said police departments in Boston and Brookline have been notified about the rise in alcohol-related hospitalizations.

Of the 11 students hospitalized this past week, nine were transported early on Saturday and Sunday, officials said. Five of the 11 were under the legal drinking age and three of the 11 were freshmen.

Police said they are not sure why the numbers were so high this past weekend. One student who was transported told police he attended a party at a fraternity in Allston, but did not tell police which fraternity, according to Molloy.

BU said it has seen student alcohol-related hospital runs, as well as alcohol violations, drop in recent years.

During the 2010-11 academic year, 248 alcohol-related hospitalizations were reported, campus officials said. The following year, the figure dropped to 211 and then to 158 in the previous academic year.

During this past fall semester, there were 90 hospitalizations for intoxication, which was about a half dozen more than the prior fall, officials said.

BU has attributed the overall decline in alcohol-related hospitalizations and violations to new enforcement measures the university adopted three years ago. Modeled on a plan that is credited with reducing off-campus intoxication at the University of California, the effort includes increasing police patrols in party neighborhoods, breaking up loud and disorderly parties, arresting or citing lawbreakers, and posting enforcement statistics on the university’s website.

The university said it also began requiring first-year students to take an online alcohol education course.

Matt Rocheleau can be reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com. Looking for more coverage of area colleges and universities? Go to our Your Campus pages.

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