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OPINION - Very, very drunk

by Chris Conley

NEWS BLOG (WSAU)  They go to college to get smart, but do very, very dumb things.

UW-Madison campus police have issued 25 underage drinking citations, and the school year is only two weeks old. That’s about the same as last year.

But cases of binge drinking are up sharply. Before last weekend’s football game, one 19-year-old drinker was cited for having a blood-alcohol level of .33. Another 19-year-old woman passed out near a campus building with a BAC of .37. That level of intoxication can be fatal. It’s almost unimaginable that someone could stand up after drinking that much.

I know that experimentation with alcohol is a rite of passage for college students. I know – as a freshman at Syracuse my dorm room was across the hallway from the janitor closet where drunken students would throw up after over imbibing.

One of the lessons that’s supposed to be learned outside the classroom is how to drink like an adult. At some point in our lives we realize that drinking and being drunk are not the same thing. We learn that being happy-drunk is different than being passed out on the lawn. I know that alcohol will never be removed from the college experience. Most students will be drunk at one time or another. Thankfully, most don’t have cars on campus – so drinking and driving is often not in-play. Actually, most studies suggest that fewer students use alcohol in college. But those that do are more likely to be binge drinkers. The extreme drunkenness at UW-Madison this week is likely to end in someone’s death.

Chris Conley