FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                          Contact: Lisa J. Merlo, Ph.D.

August __, 2009                                                                     Department of Psychiatry

                                                                                                McKnight Brain Institute

                                                                                                University of Florida                                                                                                   P.O. Box 100183

                                                                                                Gainesville, FL 32610-0183






The Association between Alcohol-Related Arrests and College Football Game Days


The relationship between alcohol consumption and the celebration of various holidays is well-known. Research has demonstrated higher rates of binge drinking and alcohol-related deaths during holiday festivities. In an article in the current issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers report that alcohol consumption and its consequences are not limited to annual holiday celebrations and, in some cases, can be much higher during collegiate football games.


Lisa J. Merlo, Ph.D. and colleagues from the Departments of Psychiatry at the University of Florida and Washington University examined public arrest records from a university town with a successful NCAA Division I football program for 30 days across a two year period. They found statistically more arrests on each football game day, as compared to non-game Saturdays or holidays. In their article, the authors point out that there were a total of 944 arrests during the 30 days under investigation. On average, there were 70.3 arrests on each football game day, compared to 12.3 arrests on control Saturdays, and 11.8 arrests on holidays. Of particular note, this study found there were more arrests for Battery, Alcohol Possession by a Minor, Driving Under the Influence, and other crimes, when comparing football game days to holidays.


These findings have important implications for public health and safety. For example, driving under the influence can lead to serious, often fatal, accidents and serious social and economic costs. The authors also note that, while efforts have been made to combat excessive drinking on holidays, more efforts are needed to address the significant binge drinking among students and other spectators that is associated with high profile collegiate sporting events.


            Drug and Alcohol Dependence is the official journal of the College on Problems of Drug Dependence (, the largest and oldest organization for the scientific study of drug dependence. The peer-reviewed Drug and Alcohol Dependence ( is published by Elsevier Science Inc., a leading publisher of scientific, technical, and medical journals, books, and reference works. Elsevier Science is a member of the Reed Elsevier PLC group (, a leading publishing and information business.