The War on College Alcohol Abuse

By: Denny Soinski

Why do college students abuse alcohol? The answers are probably many, but the simplest answer is this: Because they can.

Abusing Alcohol is Easy

When there are so few immediate consequences for excessive drinking, when repeat offenders are not disciplined, when parents are not notified about their children's drinking activities, when students get mixed messages from the college administration about alcohol, when students have seen their parents drinking alcohol in an irresponsible manner, when students are not informed about the long-tern negative consequences of alcohol abuse, when there are few alcohol-free social and recreational activities that are attractive to students, when minors or intoxicated students are served alcoholic beverages by the local drinking establishments, and when the drinking activities in the sororities and fraternities are not monitored---drinking and excessive drinking become so very easy.

What Draws Students to Abuse Alcohol?

When peer pressure or influence is added to the equation, when it is disregarded that drinking alcohol temporarily removes a person from his or her problems, when ignoring the belief or perception that drinking alcohol makes it easier to socialize with potential dating or sexual partners, when it is so acceptable to engage in activities that emphasize the drinking of alcohol, when the "good feelings" or the "fun" of getting an alcohol high or buzz are not considered, and when the party atmosphere at college is expected by students--it becomes more clear regarding what causes college students to abuse alcohol.

More Than Education is Needed

While I am 100% pro-education, especially when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse prevention, I do not think that education is the only solution or the only weapon that can be successfully used in the battle against college drug and alcohol abuse. Let me explain.

Proactive and Reactive Measures

With respect to alcohol abuse in higher education, many reactive AND proactive measures have been initiated at some colleges and universities that have reduced the availability, acceptability, and irresponsibility of alcohol use on and off campus. The result: a noticeable, if not a significant reduction in alcohol-related problems manifested by students.

What are some of these measures? Establishing immediate consequences for excessive drinking, disciplining repeat alcohol abuse offenders, notifying parents about their children's drinking activities, eliminating mixed messages by college administrators about alcohol (for instance, removing alcohol advertisements from stadiums and from sports brochures), informing students about the long-tern negative consequences of alcohol abuse, increasing alcohol-free social and recreational activities that are attractive to students, having college administrators talk to the owners of local drinking establishments so that minors and/or intoxicated students are not served alcohol, and monitoring the drinking activities in the sororities and fraternities.

Medical Research and Treatment Are Not Enough

I assert, however, that the above proactive and reactive measures, most of which are NOT education-based, are needed to compliment educational approaches. Why? I am enough of a realist to believe that even if medical research eventually discovers viable ways to escape addiction and if the medical community is able to offer effective treatment to all who need it, there will always be those who, for whatever reason, will choose to disregard medical warnings, ignore their health, and who will discount common sense as they involve themselves in alcohol and/or drug abuse.

Copyright 2007 - Denny Soinski. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, and give the author credit.

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Denny Soinski, Ph.D, writes about alcohol abuse, alcohol addiction, alcohol testing, alcoholism, alcohol recovery, alcohol treatment, and alcohol rehab. For more information, please visit right away!

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