Drunk University of Calgary students get a place to sober up
Students will never be taken to facility against their will, university official says
It's not a drunk tank. It's a post-alcohol support space.
The University of Calgary is starting a pilot program in January that will repurpose a residence space as a place for drunk students to sober up.
The university's senior director of student wellness, Debbie Bruckner, said the goal is to reduce harm.
"Well, like doing something you later regretted, not remembering what you did the night before, maybe an impact on your academic success," she said.
Bruckner stressed that students will be free to come and go from the facility whenever they want, and visits won't be documented.
"In fact, we've gone to great lengths to make sure there are no repercussions," she said.
"We wanted to provide a safe place, with a certain amount of medical monitoring as well, so they're not going somewhere where they're isolated or risking travelling."
The space will have six beds, water, first-aid equipment and a nurse on hand.
Initially at least, it will be open only on Thursdays — traditionally the biggest drinking night on the university campus — and on other special occasions when it's expected students will be celebrating.
Hilary Jahelka, the Students Union vice-president of student life, said it seems like a good idea.
She praised the school for taking measures aimed at harm reduction — as opposed to prohibition — concerning alcohol.
"I wouldn't say that we drink any more than any other university campus," said Jahelka. "Lots of people drink, and if that's the case, we want to make sure they're doing it in the safest way possible."
As he sipped a pint at a campus pub, film production student Wyatt Sawyer told CBC News there are times students overdo the booze.
"I've done it, and it would, for sure, be nice to have somewhere to go," he said.
Similar programs are already in place at both Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., and the University of Guelph, Bruckner said.
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