Under age drinking a serious problem, especially at high schools and college campuses across the United States. Despite alcohol awareness programs, the incidence of under age drinking has increased over the last several years. Many young students now consider getting drunk and “partying” a ritualistic part of their college experience.
Should we all accept this as a rite of passage or should more be done to stop this epidemic? With parents often hundreds of miles away, it may become the responsibility of colleges, college administrators and law enforcement officers to work together to help curb the problem.
Common Solutions implemented at Colleges
Throwing a weekend party? Some colleges require student groups to submit a guest list by the Thursday before the party, allowing the administration to review it.
- Requiring all campus parties to be alcohol free
- Eliminating the display of beer posters in dorm rooms or any other material that can be viewed as “promotional”
- Removing shot glasses and other alcohol-related items from the campus bookstores
- Random police patrols inside fraternity houses
- Increased marketing campaigns to discourage students from drinking excessively
- Suspensions from school for multiple alcohol offenses
- Increasing intervention, enforcement and education efforts
- Landlords are now frequently checking to see if a student had disciplinary problems or alcohol related issues at the school or in the dorm prior to signing rental agreements
- Encouraging responsible drinking habits
- Talking to students about the dangers of consuming alcohol and drugs
- Having speakers talk to students about the dangers of alcohol
- Increasing the penalties for any under age student caught drinking
No doubt, solving the under age drinking problem is an uphill battle and there is no one size fits all solution. Schools have seen an increase in the numbers of students transported from the campus to the hospital and there has been an upward trend in the level of alcohol that is ingested by the students.
Many schools have decided to notify parents about their student’s drinking problem. This can include sending letters home or encouraging parents to talk to their kids about what is expected from the students while they are attending classes or parties on the college campus.
Unfortunately, many of these efforts should have been done before the kids ever left home. It is estimated that 30% of all 11th graders consume alcohol on a monthly basis. This statistic indicates the problems some students have with drinking may have started before the student even arrived on campus.
It is not unexpected that the incidence of drinking increases when the student, who feels like an adult, gets away from their parents and from the influences of their home and feels like they should be able to make their own decisions, even if those decisions often turn deadly.
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