Friday, 30 July 2010

Study Shows That Colleges Have Not Addressed Drinking Problem

College drinking is on an increase, even as alcohol use has stayed more or less consistent in the rest of the population. In spite of that, colleges are doing precious little to prevent drinking among students. A new report, in fact, shows that many colleges are not even aware that they can implement strategies and programs to reduce drinking among their students.

In 2002, the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism made recommendations for minimizing alcohol use among college students. The recommendations involved a four tier program. Tier 1 involved individual interventions, while Tier 2 involved the regulation of liquor licenses and making alcohol more expensive through increased taxes. Tier 3 involved banning the use of alcohol on campuses and other practices, while Tier 4 was found to be the least effective and focused only on educating students about the dangers of alcohol.

A new study by the University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, shows that very few colleges have been successful in implementing the recommendations, and reducing the incidence of drinking on campus. Out of the 300+ colleges that participated in the University of Minnesota study, 22% were not even familiar with the recommendations made by the NIAAA. Twenty-three percent of the institutions had not bothered to implement even one of the conditions contained in the Tier 1 and 2 programs. These are some of the most effective strategies to contain college drinking. About 65% of the colleges had implemented one or two recommendations from the Tier 1 and 2 programs.

About 50% of the colleges are using intervention programs. However, only 7% have acted to restrict licensed alcohol outlets and retailers, and only 2% have experimented with increasing the price of alcohol to prevent college drinking. However, 98% have implemented some form of education programs to warn students about the dangers of alcohol excesses.

As any Las Vegas drunk driving accident lawyer will tell you, there is only so much effect that an education program will have on impressionable college students. What is concerning is that, while every college admits that underage drinking is a fact of life in their institutions few have actually managed to take any steps to prevent this.

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