Blackout Costs

DrunkGirl

It turns out that the health-care costs associated with college students’ blackouts are kind of expensive. According to a study by Marlon Mundt and Larissa Zakletskaia published in Health Affairs:

We calculate that on a large university campus having more than 40,000 students, blackout-associated emergency department visit costs would range from $469,000 to $546,000 per year. We conclude that blackouts are a strong predictor of emergency department visits for college drinkers and that prevention efforts aimed at students with a history of blackouts might reduce injuries and emergency department costs.

The researchers explained that over a two-year observation period, about one in eight emergency room visits were “associated with blackout drinking.”

Frequent binge drinking is related to injury rates. The article explained that “those who binge drink on six or more occasions in two weeks—are eleven times more likely to be injured than nonbinge drinkers.”

Technically, however, the number of non-binge drinkers on college campuses is sort of limited. Binge drinking usually means consuming five or more drinks (for men), or four or more drinks (for women), on one occasion. Under that definition, roughly 56 percent of college students are binge drinkers.

The researchers neglected to say which universities have higher costs and what polices can help reduce these costs. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer