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Health Department issues warning about binge drinking

(Radio Iowa) – The highly publicized public intoxication arrest of a University of Iowa student at Kinnick Stadium last weekend has prompted a release about the dangers of binge drinking from the Iowa Department of Public Health. DeAnn Decker is the agency’s Substance Abuse Prevention Bureau Chief.

“We have college football taking off right now and I think it’s just a very critical time to (discuss) binge drinking across all college campuses, including the situation at the University of Iowa this weekend,” Decker says. Police say 22-year-old Samantha Goudie tried to get onto the field before the Iowa game against Northern Illinois.

Goudie was arrested and in the stadium jail, she registered a .341 blood alcohol content – more than four times the legal limit for drunk driving. “Point-341 is very high, 0.4 can be deadly,” Decker says. “We want to make sure people know if you drink a lot of alcohol quickly it can really affect you.”

Goudie made news headlines after she tweeted, from jail, “I’m going to get .341 tattooed on me because it’s so epic.” On Twitter, Goudie used the handle “Vodka Samm.” That account has since been shut down. Decker says excessive drinking is no laughing matter and is especially dangerous for women.

She says Iowa’s binge drinking rate of 28.6 percent is significantly higher than the national average of 23.5 percent. “It’s very critical that we look at that because it does affect people’s health, especially with women, it can lead to heart disease, certain types of cancers, sleeping disorders and liver disease,” Decker says.

Decker says a person’s blood alcohol content can rise quickly depending on their weight, age, how fast they’ve been drinking and what they’ve recently eaten.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 2,000 college students die every year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.