Archive for the 'college drinking' Category

UT alcohol poisoning incident goes to court

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Connor Buchanan, one of several young men accused of involved in a September 2012 anal alcohol ingestion incident at the University of Tennessee, visited court this week to request from a judge that he not loose his drivers license. Buchanan argued that he needs a license to get to school and work, and that he would prefer to enter an alcohol education program instead of loosing his driving privileges.

Though Buchanan asked the judge to sentence him to an alcohol education course instead of loosing his drivers license, he left court with a fine of $96.50. Furthermore, if he does not have any further legal problems in the next 30 days, the charges will be dropped.

It is only with more significant institutional commitments to alcohol education that we will promote more responsible drinking in the United States. Readers, what do you think of this Tennessee judge’s decision for Mr. Buchanan?

Read the entire article here.

Duke University study points to motivators

Monday, November 19th, 2012

Researchers at Duke University have identified the two primary drivers for stress-related college student drinking. According to a study published in the journal Biology of Mood & Anxiety Disorders in which 200 students participated, a strong need for a reward and the lack of fear of negative consequences heavily influence heavy campus drinking.

“Imagine the push and pull of opposing drives when a mouse confronts a hunk of cheese in a trap. Too much drive for the cheese and too little fear of the trap leads to one dead mouse,” study researcher Ahmad Hariri, professor of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University, said in a statement.

In the study, fMRI scans were conducted on participants, and researchers looked for activity in the reward and fear centers of the brain. According to the Huffington Post,

Scientists found that students who reported stress-related alcohol abuse also had high reactivity in the amygdala brain region’s threat circuitry and the ventral striatum brain region’s reward circuitry.

This ground-breaking study presents ample opportunity for pre-screening students who may be at risk for stress-related consumption.

Bad News

Thursday, November 8th, 2012

As I searched for something newsworthy to share with you this evening, I became more disheartened than usual. I typically find one or two stories worth sharing–and I usually encounter about one alcohol-related death story each week (which isn’t to say there aren’t others). Yet tonight, when I looked for our story, I found not one but three stories about alcohol related accidents. A Penn State cheerleader suffered a broken pelvis and brain trauma after falling during a party, a Garden City College student’s drowning may be related to alcohol, and Denison College sees a spike in alcohol consumption. This bombardment of stories reminds me that with each freshman class comes alcohol education class. Not from an online portal or an RA (though many schools employ both to combat binge drinking), but from new classmates. The students bring what they know to the table, share it, and toxic results–like the ones I found this evening–ensue.

Washington State University loses student to alcohol

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

We extend our condolences to the Washington State University community and the family of Kenneth Hummel, who died this weekend from alcohol poisoning.

The 18-year old Hummel had a blood alcohol reading of 0.40 when he died early Saturday morning. Police found him unconscious in his dorm room, after his peers had called the police.

In the wake of campus alcohol courses, peer intervention groups, extended campus counseling, and more, it is sometimes difficult to understand how nearly 2,000 students die annually from alcohol related injuries. Within the next week, we will begin posting testimonials from college students that answer the questions, “What is the single largest determinant in your drinking? And what most deters you from drinking to excess?”

11 Rice students hospitalized for alcohol

Monday, October 29th, 2012

Eleven Rice University students were hospitalized during this year’s annual “Night of Decadence,” a student-organized Halloween party hosted by a dormitory. The event has occurred since the 1970s and is a student run party, and students of  legal age are allowed to drink.

Rice, like many colleges, has struggled to change it’s alcohol culture, and even experimented with a hard liquor ban earlier this year. And yet, in sending eleven students to the hospital in the course of an annual Halloween party, eleven students were hospitalized. Rice officials said,

That is a large number. It is larger than it has been historically by a large amount actually, so we are concerned about that. We re-evaluate constantly. We are in constant dialogue with our student leaders to find the most effective ways to keep our students safe, to keep our students healthy. (And) to make sure that they have the proper information to make appropriate choices.

The ages of the students have not been released, and we will not use this as a forum for speculation. However, it is difficult not to recognize that increased restraint might not necessarily lead to responsibility.

For more information on the story, click here.


Tuesday, October 23rd, 2012

Excessive alcohol consumption contributes to more than 4,700 deaths among underage youth, that is, persons less than 21 years of age, in the United States each year. –CDC

Vermont holds symposium on binge drinking

Monday, October 15th, 2012

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.

Alcohol enemas latest fad at college parties?

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

A nearly-fatal alcohol enema incident last week at a fraternity at the University of Tennessee has led to greater curiosity regarding college students’ alcohol consumption habits. While it is no secret that more than 1,800 students die annually due to binge drinking, this incident forces officials to consider other ways students might be chasing a buzz. Irresponsible behaviors such as ingesting alcohol through the rectum or combining alcohol with prescription drugs increase the effects of alcohol and can pose even greater risks than binge drinking. The unfortunate accident at the University of Tennessee indicates the heinous consequences of irresponsible consumption, and indicates that students must be taught to drink responsibly from someone other than their peers.

Read more information here.

Cornell President on Student Health

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Cornell President David J. Skorton recently wrote a candid synopsis for the Huffington Post regarding the ways in which colleges can improve the health and wellbeing on their charges. Skorton’s essay focuses on four problem areas for students: high risk drinking, hazing, mental health problems, and concussions (primarily in athletes). Hazing and mental health problems, one could argue, are also linked to high risk drinking.

Skorton claims that although curfews and dress codes have gone by the wayside, colleges must maintain their responsibility to give students freedom within a framework. That is, they must hold students accountable for their actions yet allow students to make their own choices. The problem areas Skorton discusses are fodder for debate on the age of majority and the age in which students can reasonably make their own choices.

College by the Numbers

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

10: Number of years since the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism identified college binge drinking as a serious threat to students

32: Number of schools partaking in the National College Health Improvement Project’s Learning Collaborative on High Risk Drinking, a comprehensive approach to harm reduction

34: Percentage of colleges that have banned alcohol since the NIAA announcement

136: Number of Amethyst Initiative signatories

747: Number of college presidents surveyed by the Center for Science in the Public Interest. The survey found that most colleges had implemented some form of alcohol education.

1800+: Number of college students who die annually after binge drinking.

100: Percentage of preventable alcohol related deaths on college campuses