20-Plus Miami Students Hospitalized For Alcohol Illness

  • 2/15/2017 11:19:40 AM
  • Larry Stine
  • Local News

OXFORD, OH - A crush of drunken students at Ohio's Miami University over the past weekend, nearly overwhelmed a local emergency room.

The school calls the spike in hospitalizations "alarming."

And local police say it's reached a crisis stage.

Ashley Zilka has the story.

Sgt. Jon Varley, Oxford Police Dept.:"It becomes concerning to us that so many people are getting to that level of intoxication that they need help," says Oxford Police Sgt. Jon Varley.

For Sgt. Jon Varley and the Oxford Police, the number of alcohol-related incidents that happen at Miami University is causing an impact on not only their department but others.

"It taxes our available resources as well as the fire department and EMS, so it impacts the entire city when issues like this happen," Sgt. Varley says.

Varley has been with the Oxford Police Department for 21 years.

He says he's never seen the drinking problem at Miami so bad.

"The number of these highly intoxicated has increased and their BAC numbers - the amount of alcohol that they consume - has gone way up," Sgt. Varley says.

The emergency calls made between Thursday evening and Sunday morning coincided with the end of sorority rush season.

"We actually got through the entire bid period without any problems, so this was the first night that students were kind of on their own again and free to do what they wanted to do," says Miami University Vice President of Student Affairs Jayne Brownell.

Of the 21 students hospitalized, 17 are female and all but two are underage.

It's not clear how many of them were part of Greek organizations.

Just several weeks ago, an 18-year-old freshman student was found dead in her room in Morris Hall.

Miami's president wrote in a statement that police suggest alcohol contributed to her death.

Varley says something has got to change, and change fast.

"It's going to have to be a grassroots change and change of the culture of Miami," Sgt. Varley says.

Miami University says it has an "alcohol coordinating committee" that is working to stop the sale of alcohol to minors.

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