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Frat, Sorority Members at High Alcohol-Linked Injury Risk

They're five times more likely to suffer serious falls than other students, study finds

SATURDAY, May 20, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Frat boys and sorority sisters are twice as likely as other college students to get drunk at least once per week, putting them at increased risk for injuries and sexual assault, U.S. researchers find.

A team from Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C., surveyed 10,635 students at 10 North Carolina universities and found that 90 percent of fraternity/sorority members reported that they had drank alcohol within the previous 30 days, compared with 65 percent of other students.

The study also found that 60 percent of fraternity/sorority members reported getting drunk weekly, compared with 32 percent for other students, and 78 percent of fraternity/sorority members believed that getting drunk was OK, compared with 52 percent of other students.

Fraternity/sorority members who reported getting drunk at least weekly were five times more likely to fall from a height and 2.5 times more likely to suffer a burn than other students. They were also twice as likely to suffer at least one injury and more than twice as likely to injure someone else.

Female pledges and members who got drunk weekly had more than twice the risk of being sexually assaulted than other students who did not get drunk at least weekly.

The findings were expected to be presented Saturday at the annual meeting of the Society for Academic Emergency Medicine, in San Francisco.

"When you drink, you're also at risk because of other people's drinking. My message to college students is don't get drunk and don't hang out with anyone who gets drunk. Drunk isn't funny. Drunk puts you at risk for burns, falling out of windows, sexual assault, and car crashes. If you feel dizzy, you've already had too much," lead researcher Dr. Mary Claire O'Brien, assistant professor of emergency medicine and public health sciences, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has more about college drinking.

SOURCE: Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, news release, May 20, 2006
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