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Dangerous college drinking: Prevention is possible, studies suggest
Date:6/14/2009

Alcohol is sometimes seen as part and parcel of college life, but there are programs that can significantly reduce students' risky drinking, according to a series of studies in a special college drinking supplement of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Problem drinking among U.S. college students is not going away and, by some measures, is getting worse. According to one study published in the supplement, drinking-related accidental deaths are on the rise -- from 1,440 deaths among 18- to 24-year-old students in 1998 to at least 1,825 in 2005. In this study, researchers led by Ralph W. Hingson, Sc.D, M.P.H., of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in Bethesda, MD, found that heavy episodic drinking (sometimes referred to as "binge" drinking) and drunk driving have also increased among 21- to 24-year-olds.

"College students are being swept up in the same societal problems as the rest of the population, and that's discouraging," says William DeJong, Ph.D., a professor in social and behavioral sciences at the Boston University School of Public Health. DeJong is a special editor on the supplement and the lead author of a review article summarizing the research in the supplement.

But what is encouraging, DeJong says, is the growing evidence that college prevention programs do help reduce heavy episodic drinking and other alcohol-related problems.

Fourteen studies published in the supplement detail results of projects funded by the NIAAA's Rapid Response to College Drinking Problems initiative. Between 2004 and 2005, the NIAAA selected 15 college campuses with serious student-drinking issues to work with the agency and other experts in developing programs to combat the problem.

The resulting programs ranged widely -- from counseling for individual students with drinking problems to programs that involved the neighborhoods surrounding college campuses. And researchers found t
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Contact: Paul Candon
pcandon@rci.rutgers.edu
732-445-3510
Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs
Source:Eurekalert

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