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Health Responds to Recent Binge Drinking Incident

In response to the recent "I'm Shmacked" event at the Roxy nightclub and tonight's "Barstool Blackout" event at the Dunkin Donut Center in Providence, the Department of Health (HEALTH) has reached out to and requested a report from Rhode Island colleges and universities to better understand what each campus is doing to educate their students about "binge drinking". Binge drinking is a problem in Rhode Island and the state was recently ranked 36th out of 50 states for binge drinking according to the United Health Foundation America's Health Rankings.

In a letter sent to university and college presidents, HEALTH requested a partnership with each institution of higher learning in collaboration with the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals and the Department of Transportation. Each president was also asked to respond to the letter with information about any on- or off-campus efforts to address binge drinking.

"We all need to work together to reverse this trend now", said Director of Health Michael Fine. "The unintended consequences of binge drinking among college age students including poor health, poor academic achievement, and increased risk of violence and suicide, pose too great of a burden on our society to be ignored."

Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States, with an estimated 85,000 attributable deaths in 2000. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism (NIAAA), 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, more than 690,000 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking, and 599,000 students suffer from unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.

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