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Alcohol-Induced Hospitalizations Rise
Updated May 5, 2013 1:11 AM
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(UNDATED) - Last year, the number of excise arrests involving hospitalization increased.

The Indiana State Excise Police released its annual report, which details this and other trends for the last calendar year, Feb. 18.

Excise serves as the law enforcement division of the Alcohol and Tobacco Commission of Indiana-- the trend referred to as "unfortunate" in reports.

"Excise officers took more than 50 people to emergency rooms for medical evaluations last year after they were found to be dangerously intoxicated," according to the report.

Amanda Roach, spokesperson for Bloomington Hospital, said the trend did not seem as prevalent to the hospital's emergency department.

"There's not anything trend wise. It's mainly college age persons," Roach said, "If it's a regular weekend, it's typical. If it's a time like Little Five, the number definitely goes up."

In 2012, 267 people between the ages of 17-23 were taken to Bloomington Hospital during Little 500 weekend and were treated at the emergency room for alcohol related reasons, down from 656 in 2011.

During other high profile weekends, such as homecoming and move in weekend, 54 and 258 minors were charged for drinking offenses.

Whether a person must be given emergency medical attention was dictated by Indiana sheriffs several years ago, IU Police Department Chief Keith Cash said.

"The age of the person does not matter, it is the blood alcohol reading. If over a .25 (BAC), then the person must be cleared medically before the jail will take them. Many of these are treated then jailed," Cash said.

One of the force's major focuses was the availability of alcohol to persons younger than 21 in 2012, also known as the Survey for Alcohol Compliance.

The number of charges during 2012 SAC regarding sale of alcoholic beverages to minors was down from 603 in 2011 to 266, or a 39.3-percent decrease. The number of charges for allowing minors to loiter or enter in a prohibited place was down from 359 in 2011 to 285, or a 20.6-percent decrease.

Traditionally, the most common charges in SAC checks are sale of alcoholic beverages to a minor, allowing a minor to enter or loiter and employee permit violations, according to the report. Excise also cited 15 locations for gaming violations during SAC checks.

While charges for the most common SAC checks were down from 2011-12, alcohol-related criminal charges rose in most cases in 2012.

Minor possession, consumption or transportation of alcoholic beverages charges were up from 2,315 in 2011 to 3,172 in 2012, or an increase of 37 percent.

False identification or false statement of age charges rose from 467 in 2011 to 592 in 2012, or about 27 percent.

There were 394 charges for supplying minors with alcohol in 2011. This number rose to 576 in 2012, or 46.2 percent.

Along with SAC, excise police have been using the federally funded "Stop Underage Drinking and Sales Program" to combat underage drinking. This program pays officers overtime for working in areas where the likelihood of underage drinking is high.

In 2012, the Excise Police were given a grant focused on college drinking.

"As for the increased activity from Indiana Excise Police, they worked a grant this past year that focused solely on college drinking violations. This allowed them to put many more officers on campuses in Indiana," Cash said.

Cash said he had not seen a dramatic rise in IUPD statistics, but the official statistics for 2012 have not yet been released.

Source: Excise Police Annual Report for 2012

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