Vermont holds symposium on binge drinking
Recognizing the binge drinking epidemic on college campuses throughout the state, the Vermont Department of Health recently sponsored a symposium to address the issue. The symposium included subject matter experts and offered educators the opportunity to share best practices. Vermont’s reported binge drinking and marijuana use rates (at 13 of the state’s colleges) are higher than the national average. 76% of students drink and 53% of students binge drink while 38% reported using marijuana.
Vermont’s commissioner of health, Dr. Harry Chen, noted that Vermont ranks in the top five states for binge drinking. He also conceded that the issue is difficult to tackle, “There’s no way that we’re going to eliminate college drinking…But the state and colleges can encourage [students] to be responsible so they don’t drink and drive, rely on binge drinking to enjoy themselves and put themselves at risk of violence, suicide and sexual assaults.” Chen, and the symposium itself, demonstrate a practical approach to curtailing binge drinking, yet the occasion and his comments indicate that moving the needle will be difficult in a culture where “drinking education” is solely peer-to-peer.