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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Colleges Combat Binge Drinking

The consumption of alcohol on college campuses continues to be a major concern among faculties and staffs across the country. Especially, the common practice of “binge drinking,” that is having four or more drinks; many students are unaware that binge drinking can lead to a host of medical and/or social problems.

In an attempt to combat campus sexual assaults, colleges are looking for new ways to reduce binge drinking, NPR reports.

Many colleges around the country have their own police force, separate from the local authorities. Campus police typically do not have the ability or the authority to police off campus. Conversely, many local police forces do not have the time, money, or manpower to target underage drinking, one of the leading causes of sexual assault. Naturally, the aforementioned scenario allows for a lapse of coverage concerning college drinking and everything that comes along with it.

However, Maryland’s Frostburg State University and city police agreed in 2012 to joint jurisdiction, allowing campus police to patrol off campus in search of house parties - the goal is to help prevent bad behavior before it starts. “We know there’s going to be underage drinking,” said Frostburg State University police officer Derrick Pirolozzi. “We can’t card everybody. But we want to make sure everybody does it the right way and safe way.”

The university has agreed to pay overtime costs for state, county, city and campus police near the school.

“The thing that’s so striking to me is that many universities perceive [binge drinking] as an intractable problem and that there’s nothing they can do,” Jonathan Gibralter, president of Frostburg State University, told NPR.

Gibralter stated that heavy drinking at Frostburg has led to:
  • Poor Grades
  • Injuries
  • Mental Health Problems
  • Campus Sexual Assaults
  • Deaths
Many parents and alumni have told Gibralter that they drank in college and don’t see it as a big problem. “When I tell parents that 1,800-plus college students drink themselves to death every year, they are stunned,” he said. “They have no idea.”

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