February 10, 2011
College Students And Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol abuse is an easy trap to fall into. Repeat offenders are not disciplined, there are so few immediate penalties for extreme drinking, students get varied messages from the college administration about alcohol, parents are not notified about their children’s drinking activities, students are not told about the long-term negative outcomes of alcohol abuse, students have seen their parents drinking alcohol in an reckless manner, minors or intoxicated students are served alcoholic beverages by the local drinking establishments, there are few alcohol-free social and leisure activities that are attractive to students, and the drinking activities in the sororities and fraternities are not monitored are all reasons leading to not only drinking but excessive drinking.
What might compel a student to drink alcohol? Without adding peer pressure or influence to the mix, when ignoring that drinking alcohol only temporarily removes a person from his or her problems, when overlooking the idea or perception that drinking alcohol makes it easier to interact with possible dating or sexual partners, when casting aside it being so tolerable to participate in activities that highlight the drinking of alcohol, when the “good feelings” or the “fun” of getting an alcohol high or buzz are not considered, and when the party atmosphere at college is no longer an expectation by students, only then does it become harder to determine what might cause college students to abuse alcohol. For all of the reasons above are factors in driving our college campuses to alcohol abuse.
Education is not enough. While drug and alcohol abuse prevention is the first step, education alone is not the only answer that an be implemented in the war against college drug and alcohol abuse. But what are some of the other means by which to get the message about self-destructive behaviors?
First, we have to look at being both proactive and reactive. With this concept in mind, alcohol abuse has begun to be dealt with in with many reactive and proactive measures at some colleges and universities. These measures have included the reducing of the availability and acceptability while punishing the irresponsibility of alcohol use on and off campus. The result has been a reduction of alcohol related problems started by students.
What are some more of these measures? Designating immediate consequences for excessive drinking, punishing repeat alcohol abuse offenders, notifying parents about their children’s drinking activities, ending the mixed messages by college administrators about lcohol (for example, removing alcohol advertisements from stadiums and from sports brochures), educating students about the long-term harmful consequences of alcohol abuse, increasing alcohol-free social and recreational activities that are considered desirable to students, having college administrators talk to the owners of local drinking establishments so that minors and/or intoxicated students are not served alcohol, and monitoring the drinking activities in the sororities and fraternities all serve to assist in decreasing the rate of college drinking.
While medical research and treatment are positive steps, they are not enough. The above proactive and reactive measures, most of which are not education-based, are needed to compliment educational approaches alongside medical intervention if necessary. Even if the advancements in medical treatments can eliminate addictions, there will still be those who need it that will make every opportunity to avoid the chance. They will choose to disregard medical warnings, ignore their health, and who will discount common sense as they involve themselves in alcohol and/or drug abuse.