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New study finds correlation between getting blackout drunk and hospital visits


Frequent blackout sufferers visit emergency rooms 70 percent more often than those who don’t, a new study shows. 

Student drinking has been a serious public health concern for years. Blacking out, or amnesia, is a frequent consequence of heavy alcohol consumption. More than 50 percent of students who drink report blackouts, according to the recent study conducted at the University of Wisconsin by Marlon Mundt and Larissa Zakletskaja. 

During the trial period, one in eight emergency room visits by study participants was associated with blackout drinking. The students suffered injuries ranging from broken bones to head and brain injuries requiring computer tomography. 

“Very little research has been made in the area of blackouts before,” said Marlon Mundt, assistant scientist at the University of Wisconsin. “We established the connection between blackout drinking and visiting emergency departments. It will help to raise awareness about the dangers of heavy drinking.”

Research indicates that in addition to the amount of alcohol consumed, other factors, like environmental and genetic predispositions, may contribute to blackout probability. 

“In my freshman year, I had one experience with ‘brown-out,’ the stage before blacking out,” linguistics junior Carley Rodgers said. “After that I have been very careful with the amount of alcohol I consume.” 

Rodgers said students should be aware of what to do when someone is blacking out. 

“Whether you know the person or not, you could save their life just by taking them to the hospital,” she said. “I have done this for a friend while I was underage, and I can say that you do not need to worry about getting in trouble. They will overlook that fact.”

In a 2011 Health Center Poll, 68 percent of Ole Miss students reported drinking in the last 30 days and 48 percent among them had a drink in the past one to nine days, according to Ole Miss health educator T. Davis. 

“This problem is very actual, I hear about it all the time,” she said. “All freshmen and transfers are required to take online alcohol education course. Also, some organizations and sororities ask us to come and raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol. We always respond and help.”