Friday, November 10, 2000 Volume 66, Issue 59


 
 









 

Alcohol places college students in danger

Campuses at-risk for binge drinking discussed at luncheon

By Melissa E. Valdez
News Reporter

UH faculty and students should come together with the Houston community to remedy college binge drinking, said alcohol and drug abuse researcher Peter Nathan.

Nathan, a former faculty member of the University of Iowa, talked about his study on binge drinking with members of the UH community at the University Hilton on Tuesday.

Nathan said he believes finding a remedy for binge drinking will improve the quality of college life.

"Fewer students will be raped ... fewer students will drop out of school," he said.

Nathan compared his University of Iowa study with a 1994 Wechsler study involving 140 U.S. college campuses.

Both studies concentrated on the number of students binge drinking and on the impact of this behavior.

Students who engaged in binge drinking activities are more likely to miss classes, drop out and fail school, Nathan said, and both studies showed male students have a higher risk of becoming binge drinkers.

Nathan said the impacts of binge drinking could cost students their college careers.

"Our nation's privileged youths are in danger," he said.

The Wechsler study determined three predictors that make a college campus more susceptible to binge drinking.

The predictors state at-risk campuses as colleges in the Northeast or North central regions, residential schools where the majority of students live on campus, and colleges where alcohol can be obtained within walking distance of the campus.

Although UH only meets the last criteria, Nathan said he believes the campus could still be at risk and said preventive measures should be put in place.

The UH Substance Abuse Committee meets twice a semester to access and review prevention and education needs on campus.

The Interfraternity Council also addresses some preventive measures, said Bruce Twenhafel, a Campus Activities adviser.

"Every group subscribes to alcohol-free recruitment," he said.

Twenhafel also said kegs, punch bowls or other common sources of alcohol cannot be available at fraternity parties. He said the national trend is toward alcohol-free Greek housing and third-party vendors with alcohol permits supplying alcohol at parties.

Both studies show most students are able to quit binge drinking after college, indicating that peer pressure could be a primary cause.

Nathan said more needs to be done nationally to stop the crisis of college binge drinking, including taking steps to get students involved in self-control.
 

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