Although the number of calls to Duke Emergency Medical Services holds steady from last year's Orientation Week, fewer were attributed to issues concerning alcohol consumption.
According to Director of Duke EMS Jay Srinivasan, a junior, this year during O-Week there were 13 calls to EMS, nine of which resulted in transportation to the Emergency Room. During the 2012 Orientation Week, there were 13 calls that resulted in only five trips to the ER. The number of calls, however, attributed to the overconsumption of alcohol this year decreased to three out of 13 from seven out of 13.
“In short, we see that the number of calls remained the same, with a decrease in the number of calls involving alcohol,” Srinivasan said. “Transports increased, but that can easily be explained—there may have been more calls at the Medical Center this year, as those calls usually have a higher probability of requiring ambulance transport.”
Srinivasan added that the totals are an accumulation of the calls made across all of Duke's campuses—including the Medical Center—beginning from 8 a.m. on freshman move-in day.
During last year’s O-Week, a police bust at an off-campus party held by Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity resulted in 15 underage alcohol consumption citations and two arrests.
There were no problems on such a large scale this year, noted Duke Police Chief John Dailey in an email Sunday.
Senior Jack Riker, president of the Interfraternity Council, attributed the improvement to tightened fraternity policies.
“Risk management is a huge part of a chapter's ability to function properly,” Riker said. "A mixture of learning from past experiences, understanding of university policy and implementing effective risk reducing actions has helped make Duke a safer place."
He noted that chapters at Duke have taken strides in increasing safety and reducing risks.
Srinivasan noted that although the number of alcohol related incidents decreased this year, the student body can still take steps to decrease future alcohol related incidents.
“Aside from typical advice such as consuming alcohol in moderation, drinking plenty of water and eating a meal before consuming alcohol, I would additionally advocate that students work to be aware of their surroundings at all times,” Srinivasan said.
He added that this advice applies not only to medical incidents, but also to situations of personal security.
“Students should stick together when drinking," he said. " Often, [Duke] EMS is requested for persons who were effectively abandoned by their friends earlier in the evening and found by passing bystanders.”
In the situation that bystanders call EMS for an individual who does not necessarily need medical attention but is not capable of taking care of themselves, EMS is still mandated to take the patient to the Emergency Room, Srinivasan said. He added that this can lead to expensive medical bills for the abandoned individuals.
Srinivasan recommends that students becomes familiar with the safety resources on campus and save numbers such as those for DUPD and Duke Van Services into their phones.
“Students should be aware of the medical amnesty clause in the University's alcohol policy and thus should never hesitate to call EMS for any medical concerns,” Srinivasan said.