College alcohol use, high-risk drinking discussed
Overall trends of public intoxication arrests in Davis have declined in recent years, said City of Davis mayor Robb Davis during the Davis Town Hall forum on Nov. 16. If only that were the case back in 2005 for one UC Davis freshman, a female student who spent a night out drinking in downtown Davis with friends and drunkenly tripped on the curb, hitting her head in a nearly-fatal incident.
“Since 2011, fewer and fewer minors have been getting arrested,” Davis said.
Still, Davis made sure that community members knew of the seriousness of the issue today, and that noise complaints, public urination and other alcohol-associated arrests are happening.
“B street, pee street,” Davis said, referring to public urination in downtown Davis which happens after late nights out at local bars.
Robb Davis, other notable community figures and student resource groups on campus spoke out about alcohol use and high-risk drinking during the public meeting. The meeting, titled “Enhancing our Safety and Well-Being: Where Does Alcohol Fit In?” was put on by the Student Health and Counseling Services (SCHS) at UC Davis. Nearly 50 Davis residents and students were in attendance.
One notable speaker was Dr. Nick Gorton, who works in the emergency room department at Sutter Davis Hospital. At the forum, he discussed the personal story of a local UC Davis student who nearly die from alcohol intoxication. He described the frantic phone calls that were made to local hospitals to see if they could treat her, as well as the dreaded phone call he had to make to the woman’s father to tell him that his daughter might die.
It was then that Gorton stressed to the audience that this experience could happen again unless appropriate measures from the local community and UC Davis are taken to prevent alcohol-related injury.
“[We’ve] got to do something. People are going to die if we don’t,” Gorton said.
Despite the bleak depiction of high-risk alcohol consumption, there was an overarching sense of hope from the various individuals who spoke. Many believed that alcohol concerns would be appropriately addressed by the community.
Thoughtful remarks were made by the president-elect of the Interfraternity Council David Bronstein, Davis Police Department officer John Renger and associate vice chancellor for student life, campus community and retention services Milton Lang. Each ensured the audience that there are improvements being made and resources accessible to students who might struggle with substance-related issues.
Jessica Bulgarelli and Melanie Hanson spoke on behalf of Aggie RISE, a support group at UC Davis that brings students together who are seeking to address recovery issues.
Bulgarelli described her personal experience of getting a DUI at 18 and having a felony on her record. Bulgarelli argued that having adequate peer support and a place on campus where students can go is helpful for those who need it. She added that it also helps erase the stigma behind alcoholism.
Similarly, Hanson explained that although the struggle of substance abuse is scary, no one should have to go through the pain by themselves.
“We at Aggie RISE are here for you. Struggling with substance abuse is lonely and isolating. You don’t have to alone,” Hanson said.
Written by: Anya Rehon — firstname.lastname@example.org