At least 10 ambulances have responded to alcohol-related incidents on Notre Dame’s campus so far this semester, according to Notre Dame Security Police (NDSP). NDSP Director Phil Johnson said extreme intoxication should not be taken lightly. “Sometimes a student sees another student drink too much,” Johnson said. “Putting them to bed can be a very dangerous idea … You can’t simply put someone to bed who is intoxicated who might aspirate and stop breathing.” In 2010-2011, Johnson said ambulances transported individuals to the hospital for alcohol poisoning on 78 occasions. The prior school year, NDSP reported 76 alcohol-related dispatches for ambulances, and from 2008-2009, 71. At one of two local hospitals, students can receive treatment ranging from rehydration to stomach pumping for alcohol poisoning. Johnson said these statistics include both Notre Dame students and visitors to campus. Football weekends increase the risk of excessive intoxication on campus, Johnson said, and more alcohol-related trips to the hospital occur during the fall semester. “During the fall we often see an uptick, definitely an uptick on Saturdays [for football weekends],” Johnson said. Emergency medical responders need to evaluate a number of factors when they deal with a student who is extremely intoxicated. Johnson said an EMT will evaluate a patient’s level of responsiveness, general medical history, ability to speak and stand, blood alcohol content (BAC) and other factors. “From a first response standpoint, we make sure we get appropriate medical care to someone who needs it,” he said. In over 20 years with NDSP, Johnson said both law enforcement and campus officials have become more proactive about alcohol education. “I think now that we are more keenly aware of the perils of alcohol with an overdose, we are operating with more caution,” Johnson said. Some students are reluctant to call an ambulance for an underage friend in danger because they are afraid of disciplinary consequences for that person or for themselves, Johnson said. But he said discipline is far from the minds of emergency responders. “We’re trying to make sure people are safe and are getting the best care when presented with a potentially life-threatening situation,” he said. “Call 9-1-1, and take care of the person. Life safety comes first.” Kathleen O’Leary, director of Residence Life for the Office of Student Affairs, agreed with Johnson. “When a friend has consumed alcohol and you are concerned about their well-being, always contact hall staff or NDSP at 9-1-1 for medical assistance,” O’Leary said. “Leaving a friend to ‘sleep it off’ is extremely dangerous … While the University does not currently have a medical amnesty policy, the surrounding circumstances of an alleged violation of University policy are always taken into consideration.” O’Leary’s office handles discipline cases for students who are taken to the hospital for excessive drinking. “When addressing instances of severe intoxication, our office’s primary concern is for that student’s physical, emotional and spiritual health and well-being,” O’Leary said. “Students will meet with us to go through the disciplinary process, which we intend to be an educational one.” The disciplinary process is a chance to have “an educational conversation” about decision-making, as well as the University’s expectations and policies regarding alcohol possession and consumption. O’Leary said students could also receive alcohol assessment and education through the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education. “If the Office of Residence Life determines that a student is responsible for a violation of University policy, the nature of the offense and the circumstances surrounding it, the student’s prior disciplinary violations — if any — the impact of the misconduct on the community and prior similar cases will be among the factors considered in determining a sanction,” O’Leary said. According to du Lac, this sanction could include alcohol counseling, loss of on-campus parking and driving privileges, community service and disciplinary probation, among other punishments. Christine Nowak, director of the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education, said her office exists to educate students about the consequences of alcohol abuse. “We are student-friendly, student-driven and educational,” Nowak said. “We’re not a part of discipline, not a counseling office and not the police. We are giving students the power to make better decisions.” Excessive drinking is a problem on most college campuses, Nowak said. “There’s a progression, and at the far end of that progression is alcohol poisoning, sexual assault and property damage,” Nowak said. “The biggest change has to happen at the student level with students positively confronting other students … This is a safety concern and a health concern.” While some students might shy away from these conversations, Nowak said expressing concern about dangerous drinking habits to a friend is important. “For some folks, that’s all they need to hear from a friend,” Nowak said. “I have great faith that students can change the culture if they want to and make it safe and healthy for everyone … A lot of people have a social life without alcohol.”
Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York [dropcap]T[/dropcap]he two fiery dragons may have zipped their flaming snouts for now—thankfully sparing the platinum blonde locks of their mistress Queen Daenerys Targaryen—but the debate has just begun to heat up over the Game of Thrones season five opener. (Beware of spoilers!)Have the show runners finally gone too far? Have the fans of George R.R. Martin’s epic “A song of Ice and Fire” books been betrayed because the plot lines have truly diverged? Or are they going to continue to “hate-watch” the HBO series, as one of our crew here calls his Sunday night viewing experience glued to the tube?As Martin labors to finish what he started, the show’s creators, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, press on their own way, killing off a major character, Mance Rayder, the king of the free-folk/Wildlings, in the season opener. They had him burned at the stake, instead of following the book’s switcheroo when Stannis Baratheon’s mistress Melisandre summons some of her magic and subs a character named Rattleshirt disguised as Mance to go up in flames in his stead. Live free or die, indeed.Melisandre, also known as The Red Woman, in Game of Throne’s season 5 premiere. (Photo credit: Helen Sloan/ HBO)Face it, readers, you will always have your jam-packed books—whether Martin gets to the end himself, or a ghostwriter finishes the job. But for us watchers, the series is still as good as it gets. Whether we will ever want to go back and read the source material is another story.All the HBO show’s special ingredients were on full display as the season got underway. There’s nudity, sexuality, depravity, sudden violence, stunning locations, splendid costumes, tense drama, blood, breasts and guts. What more do we need? It did not disappoint. Of course, not having read the books, we did not know what we were missing, nor what was supposed to be coming. That’s the joy of it, we suppose.With an assist from his brother Jaime, Tyrion Lannister (played to perfection by Pinker Dinklage) managed to escape from the dungeon at Kings Landing but not from the abyss of his guilt. One of our favorite characters in the series, the small guy shot his evil dad, Tywin Lannister, with a crossbow as the dastardly Lord of Casterly Rock sat on the privy and also strangled the only love of his life, Shae, after finding her lying naked in his dad’s bed. That’s gotta be tough on anyone. Too bad he’ll never see a therapist, because he does have a lot of issues to work out. We hope he finds closure somehow—if he doesn’t, don’t you dare spoil it!Meanwhile, our other favorite male on the show, Jon Snow, won a temporary truce at Castle Black between the free folk/wildlings and the Night’s Watch—without a creepy ice walker in sight—but self-declared King Stannis Baratheon had to go and ruin it.The character Tyrion Lannister killed his father in Game of Throne’s season 4 finale last year. (Credit: HBO)And way, way down south, across the sea, Dany is still missing a dragon, and the two she has locked away look rather depressed from their neglect, and that could be cause for animal rights’ activists, assuming the former slave kingdom of Meereen ever had any, which is doubtful. Khaleesi, as we like to call her with humble devotion, has a complicated relationship with other creatures. She hatched three dragons herself, lost one, and, proving she’s no vegetarian, ate the heart of a stallion. As for the Great Harpy of Meeren, the big bronze-buttocked-and-bare-breasted female with wings mounted atop the Great Pyramid, the new queen apparently has no respect for idols of the past, having her forces pull the statue down with ropes and demolishing it in a great moment of television action and special effects.And next week we get to see what the Stark girls are up to: Arya is about to meet a cult of mysterious assassins and Sansa is going to find out what master spy Littlefinger has in mind for her. And from what we’ve seen so far, it can’t be good.