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Unsanctioned parties at Queen’s Homecoming keeps Kingston paramedics busy, stretches ER resources

Unsanctioned Homecoming street parties clog Emergency room with drunk revelers
Drunk students strain paramedic and emergency room services

Queen’s principal Daniel Woolf had some harsh words in response to this past weekend’s unsanctioned street parties during homecoming.

“Completely unacceptable as far as I’m concerned from any young person or any person and certainly not acceptable from a student at Queen’s University.”

Staff Sgt. Chris Scott says Kingston Police assigned 75 officers to the university district Friday and 145 officers on Saturday and Sunday.

READ MORE: Off-campus homecoming party leaves Dalhousie with serious hangover

“That’s resources that are taken away from investigations and stuff because we have to have boots on the ground,” Scott said.

Homecoming events in 2015 and 2016 showed a downward trend in the number of charges laid by police.

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This year, the numbers jumped from 166 charges in 2016 to almost double that this year.

A total of 330 charges were laid.

The vast majority — 307 — involved alcohol such as underage drinking and public intoxication and 33 people were arrested.

Dangerous stunts like one recorded and posted online involved a student jumped from a porch roof onto a table.

Scott says it could’ve ended much worse.

“This phenomenon of students who are drinking going on the roofs of two-storey buildings, these are high-pitched roofs this is a really, really dangerous activity.”

Paramedics were also kept busy rushing people to hospital because they consumed too much alcohol.

READ MORE: Queen’s University alumni return for homecoming celebrations

The paramedic service’s deputy chief Chris McBain said at times ambulances from neighbouring townships were brought in to help.

“[They’d] either drop off their own patients and then end up doing calls in the city or to assist us with our call volume,” McBain said.
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Paramedics and hospital staff also reported issues with drunk partiers vomiting, urinating, or spitting on first responders.

Kingston General Hospital says it was the busiest weekend ever for its ER.

One doctor tweeted: “drunk kids still clogging er. musical chairs with patients stretchers to find room to examine acute stroke patient.”

The head of the ER, Dr. David Messenger, says the hospital treated 241 patients on Saturday and another 223 on Sunday.

“We had about 60 patients present with alcohol or substance-related concerns on the Saturday of this weekend.”

Despite the enormous strain on first responders, the Queen’s principal doesn’t think cancelling fall homecoming will solve the issue of excessive partying and drinking.

“We had similarly bad behaviour, but in some ways harder to manage because it was unpredictable when it would actually occur.”