Drunken students arrested by police are now being referred to
health authorities, as part of a pilot project aimed at
helping their battle with booze.
The project - dubbed ''Thinking about your drinking'' -
started during Orientation Week and mirrored a similar
intervention at Dunedin Hospital.
''It's about having a follow-up conversation with someone the
next day where you are sober,'' alcohol harm reduction
officer Sergeant Ian Paulin, of Dunedin, said.
Students going to the hospital emergency department with
alcohol in their system were already referred to Student
Now, any students arrested and found to be intoxicated at the
time of the offending were referred to the proctor and also
to Student Health.
A specialist nurse would make contact with the student ''to
see if they have a drinking problem''. Free counselling
sessions would be offered.
''Sometimes, they are one-offs, but there are some who have
some underlying issues who drink more than what they
should,'' Sgt Paulin said.
''That follow-up phone call even gives those binge-drinkers a
bit of a wake-up call.''
Of those arrested during O-Week, about 90% had been drinking
and took part in the intervention, Sgt Paulin said.
Most of those students received pre-charge warnings. However,
this was not applicable in the case of more serious crimes,
including lighting fires, he said.
Police hoped to expand the interventions to include other
groups, such as underage drinkers.