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Among 18-24 year old college students, over 1,800 deaths annually are attributable to alcohol. In 2012 nearly 2.8 million students were under the influence of alcohol and nearly 590,000 were unintentionally injured while under the influence of alcohol. More than 97,000 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape and about 25 percent report adverse academic consequences of their drinking.
What are some recommendations for addressing higher education problems related to alcohol consumption?
- Increase enforcement of minimum drinking age laws.
- Increase price and taxes on alcoholic beverages so they are less affordable for students.
- Enforce responsible beverage service policies in social and commercial settings.
While there are challenges, we have the ability to create environments that help young adults make healthy decisions about alcohol consumption. The University of California, Santa Barbara has implemented a first year mandatory alcohol and drug education course as well as campus-wide prevention efforts. Both campus and community collaboration and buy-in are vital for successful interventions to reduce alcohol problems.
The greatest impact will come from adopting mutually-reinforcing policies, programs and practices guided by strong leadership and accountability within the campuses and communities.