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Davis, California

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Health center, police encourage winter break safety

A 2009 UC Davis National College Health Assessment survey randomly surveyed 8,000 UC Davis undergraduates about their alcohol consumption in the previous 12 months.

“Of the students,” said Mandy Li, Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Risk Reduction coordinator, “13 percent physically injured themselves, 2 percent physically injured another person and 2 percent got in trouble with the police.”

The Student Health Center and UC Davis Police Department said they urge students to avoid continuing on with these practices during the holiday break. One of their biggest concerns is the risk of driving while impaired.

“The consequences of a bad decision regarding driving while impaired can have lifelong consequences,” said Tom Ferguson, UCD medical director of the Student Health and Wellness Center. “I don’t think our students always think about what can happen to their lives.”

To prevent driving while impaired, UC Davis Chief of Police Annette Spicuzza recommended designating a driver, calling a taxi, not being the last one at a party and making sure that you leave with the friends you came with.

The Student Health Center and the UCD Police Department also urge students to “be smart” during their partying. They recommend eating and drinking water in between alcoholic drinks to decrease the effect of alcohol, having a buddy system and letting family and friends know where you are going to be before heading to a party.

They also encourage the use of 911 in case of a party emergency or unwanted party situation.

“Students shouldn’t be afraid to interrupt or make a scene to get out of an unwanted party situation,” said Li. “Both the UC Davis and City of Davis Police Departments are a resource to the party goer and party thrower.”

As far as legal ramifications go, both departments encourage students to be familiar with state and local rules regarding alcohol and partying during the holidays.

Students are always subject to local, state and national laws and when it comes to alcohol, police officers in any area can report misbehavior to UC Davis Student Judicial Affairs (SJA).

“UC Davis SJA has jurisdiction over students, even when they’re not in Davis,” said Li, “SJA can put students on probation or other consequences upon their return to Davis.”

In addition to partying safely, students are urged to travel safely over the holidays. One concern of student traveling is sleep deprivation, another leading cause of auto accidents.

Students may not realize how dangerous it is to drive while tired, yet many students still drive home sleep deprived after finishing finals or from home to campus after break, according to Ferguson.

“Our campus police chief and I both have concerns and know of fatal accidents that have occurred from our students driving while tired,” Ferguson said.

To avoid fatal accidents due to sleep deprivation, students are encouraged to get seven to nine hours of nighttime sleep before driving and avoid driving long hours, at night, alone or on monotonous freeways.

ASHLEY NEWMAN can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.

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