Counselors warn of spring break danger: Many arrests, accidents and deaths alcohol related

The loss of life at one UW campus is a reminder of the dangers of
drinking. Eau Claire police say 22-year-old Kyle Joswiak died after
falling from an elevated walkway at an apartment complex.

Authorities say Joswiak's blood alcohol tested at .257, that's more than three times the legal limit for driving.

Concerns
over alcohol abuse aren't limited to college campuses, however. The US
Department of State says 100,000 college students will travel to Mexico
for spring break, thousands more to destinations in the states.

Drug and Alcohol counselors say the getaways often involve heavy drinking and high risk.

Next
week, UW Oshkosh students will be kicking off their spring break. For
some it's a time for relaxation, for others travel. A getaway to let
loose and have fun.

"I'm going with some friends and my girlfriend and we always try to stick together," student Collin Polar said.

But
for some that's not so easy. Counselors at the Nova Treatment Center in
Oshkosh say when alcohol and drugs enter the picture, bad decisions can
become the norm.

"A lot of people that go to spring break first
and foremost are under age and so they're breaking the law by drinking
underage," David Frederick with Nova said.

And with little experience drinking, he says alcohol can cloud their judgment quickly.

"It'll
be the middle of the afternoon and they're already passed out on the
beach," Polar explained. "You wonder if they're going to be alright
cause you know they're going to keep going later."

According to
a spring break survey by the Journal of American College Health, males
reported drinking an average 18 drinks per day, women 10 drinks.

The
survey also showed more than half of all men and more than 40 percent
of women drank until they became sick or passed out on at least one
occasion.

Add alcohol to unfamiliar surroundings and the risks grow higher.

"You're in a new environment, you don't know the area that well," UWO senior Eric Jacob said of spring break.

Frederick says alcohol is a factor in most spring break arrests, accidents, violent crime and deaths.

"It's sad but not surprising," he said.

Frederick urges travelers to surround themselves with friends and set solid limits.

"If you be safe I don't think it's dangerous," UWO freshman Ashley Weber said.

"I'll probably think about my choices a little more," Polar said. As he heads to Mexico hoping for a fun and safe experience.

The
most popular spring break destinations for college students in 2010
include the Bahamas; Panama City, Florida; Mexico and South Padre
Island, Texas.