Little Progress Has Been Made to Curb Drinking Among College Students

Little Progress Has Been Made to Curb Drinking Among College Students

College drinking has been an increasing problem over the last few years, and many public health organizations have made recommendations for steps colleges and college communities can take to help curb problematic drinking. However, a new study by researchers at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health shows that few colleges are actually taking those steps.

In 2002, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) gave colleges detailed advice on how to help prevent college drinking. One of the leading science-based recommendations from the NIAAA was conducting brief interventions for students at an increased risk of problem drinking, but this was adopted only by half of the 351 colleges that were surveyed.

The study’s lead author, Toben Nelson, Sc.D., said that only 33 percent of colleges said they collaborated with nearby communities to implement strategies such as monitoring illegal sales of alcohol, providing training on responsibly serving alcohol, restricting alcohol retail outlets, and addressing students’ access to inexpensive alcohol.

Their study, which will be published in the October issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, also found that about one in five college administrators said they were not familiar with the 2002 NIAAA recommendations. Nelson said their study found that little progress has been made in the implementation of the recommendations in the past eight years, which is unfortunate.

About twelve months ago, University of Minnesota researchers published a study showing that colleges that had been labeled as “party schools” have shown little improvement in lessening problematic drinking among students.

Nelson said that the lack of implementation of the NIAAA guidelines could be due to strained relationships between colleges and nearby communities with regard to alcohol, a lack of resources, and staff members who are either untrained or lack the authority to take the necessary steps to help curb student drinking.

Sources: Join Together, Few Colleges Follow NIAAA Advice to Prevent Student Drinking, July 26, 2010

Science Daily, Little Action on Recommendations Aimed to Curb College Drinking, Researchers Find, July 20, 2010

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