Every year over 1,800 American college students die from alcohol related causes, such as motor vehicle accidents, alcohol poisoning, and violence. About 700,000 students are victims of sexual assault annually by a person who is under the influence of alcohol, and twenty five percent of college students report academic problems at one point in their college career due to drinking alcohol. With over six percent of college students fitting the criteria for alcohol dependency, it is becoming a serious issue in universities across the country. Some measures have been taken in vain, while others have been proven to reduce alcohol abuse. It has been found that environmental protection strategies significantly reduce college drinking.
Environmental Prevention Techniques
Many techniques are used in attempt to prevent binge drinking on college campuses, although few have proven successful. However, studies have found several methods that do decrease drinking on college campuses. One method is a crackdown on college parties. The police responded to and broke up loud college parties as well as they could, and sent everyone home. The result on these campuses was that students did not want to risk going out and getting caught for underage drinking, drunk in public violations, or driving under the influence violations. Second, the police set up checkpoints on popular party nights to check for drunk drivers. DUI checkpoints are set up at popular intersections and roads on days like New Years, Halloween, or nights of big college sports games. Also, the media helped publicize the campaign. University newspapers, as well as local community news covered the campaign, in order to inform all students of the actions being taken. Finally, police openly monitored local stores, restaurants, and bars to ensure minors were not being served or sold alcohol.
Results of Study
The study, which was conducted at 14 large public universities in California, found these techniques to be very productive. Half of the schools were used as control groups, and no preventative measures were taken. At the universities where the environmental prevention techniques were used, researchers found several interesting trends. First, students were less likely to drink to the point of intoxication at bars, restaurants, and off-campus parties. Students may have still gone out and participated in underage drinking, but they reported not drinking to the point of intoxication. Also, it was found that contrary to the researchers' hypothesis, drinking at non-targeted places such as parks, beaches, and residence halls did not increase. In essence, students did not move their drinking to a safer location from authority, but lessened their consumption altogether.
This study hopes to give university administrators hope towards the reduction of college binge drinking. Although the techniques used in this study proved to significantly affect the issue, future studies may show other effective techniques. The aim of this study is to provide hope for colleges that they may implement strategies to reduce drinking on and off campus.