By Syma Chowdhry
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Fall semester of college is an exciting time for students, many of them enjoy the freedom of being away from home. But the number of alcohol citations during the first few weekends of the school year is normally up.
“They are meeting new people. They are learning the environment and they are testing their boundaries. So we do see some higher risk behaviors when it comes to alcohol and other drug abuse,” said Stephanie Ives, the Dean of Students at Temple University.
The school offers a medical amnesty program for students if they drank too much and are too scared to get help for fear of getting in trouble.
In the first three weeks at Temple, 43 students were taken to the hospital for alcohol consumption. Of the 43, so far only seven requested amnesty.
Police have handed out 82 alcohol citations to students.
“Medical amnesty assures students that there won’t be a judicial component to a student’s record if they seek help for over consumption of alcohol,” explained Ives.
Drexel University and University of Pennsylvania have similar policies.
Schools hope to prevent incidents like the one in Rutgers over the weekend when 19-year-old Caitlyn Kovacs died from alcohol poisoning.
Last year, a Villanova student Kinara Patel died of the same thing, just three days into the Fall semester.
“We hope that our educational programs would help avoid that, but there are many factors that influence college drinking and sometimes there are these terrible tragedies.”
Students say they appreciate the medical amnesty program and encourage their friends to use it.
Sophomore Amber Connally said, “Everyone makes mistakes and mistakes are okay. You learn from mistakes.”
Jacob Guzdek, a freshman, explained, “Always just call and they will get you help. You got to take the consequences later. You rather get in trouble than you or one of your friend’s die.”
“People learn from their mistakes and they don’t get in trouble for making a mistake,” said sophomore Corinne Hess. “I think it is actually a very good thing.”
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