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As college drinking problems rise, new studies identify effective prevention strategies
Date:6/15/2009

Alcohol-related deaths among U.S. college students rose from 1,440 deaths in 1998 to 1,825 in 2005, along with increases in heavy drinking and drunk driving, according to an article in the July supplement of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

The special issue describes the results of a broad array of research-based programs to reduce and prevent alcohol-related problems at campuses across the country. These studies resulted from the Rapid Response to College Drinking Problems Initiative, a grant program supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health.

"This supplement is a valuable resource that underscores the growing number of research-driven strategies that college administrators and health officials can put in place to address serious student drinking problems," says Acting NIAAA Director Kenneth Warren, Ph.D.

Reviewing the magnitude of the college alcohol problem, Ralph W. Hingson, Sc.D, M.P.H., director of NIAAA's Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, and colleagues analyzed data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other government sources. They found that serious problems persist, as indicated by the increase in drinking-related accidental deaths among 18- to 24-year-old students, which resulted mainly from traffic-related incidents. In addition, the researchers found the proportion of students who reported recent heavy episodic drinking -- sometimes called binge drinking, defined as five or more alcoholic drinks on any occasion in the past 30 days -- rose from roughly 42 percent to 45 percent, and the proportion who admitted to drinking and driving in the past year increased from 26.5 percent to 29 percent.

"These are tragically and unacceptably high figures that indicate an urgent need for colleges and surrounding communities to implement evidence-based prevention and counseling programs,"
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Contact: Gregory Roa
niaaapressoffice@nih.gov
301-443-3860
NIH/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
Source:Eurekalert

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