Thumbnail photo of Study: Most College Alcohol Policies Aren’t Preventing Heavy Drinking

Johns Hopkins Study Details How Campus Drinking Guidelines Are Ineffective

In a recent issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, alcohol policy experts teamed up with researchers from Johns Hopkins University to analyze the effectiveness of college alcohol and prevention programs. According to their results, less than half of the colleges studied had policies that ranked as “most effective” in curbing excessive drinking habits. Certain policies, such as banning alcohol in some campus areas, were listed by the panel as effective while keg registration and banning specific types of alcoholic beverages were less effective.

Banning kegs or hard liquor were less effective because students then substituted beer or liquor – instead of reducing drinking altogether.

Other effective policies for reducing rates of college binge and heavy drinking included banning drinking games, drinking in public and at student recruitment events, banning alcohol delivery to campus addresses, and checking IDs at campus events where alcohol is present. Researchers believed these policies are responsible for changing a school’s culture of drinking and what is considered “normal” drinking behavior on campus. Punishment (such as notifying parents of infractions or expulsion) was also listed as effective, though only when punishment was not impeded by appeals and deliberation processes.

Alcohol Abuse And Injury Among College Students

The negative impact of alcohol abuse on college students has been studied extensively. While this study is the first to closely inspect how well college guidelines protect students, most students report being aware of the consequences of drinking. Growing awareness among the youth has led to a declining binge drinking rate among students since 2008. From 2017 to 2018, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that past month binge drinking among college students fell 4% (from 38% to 34%). In 2014, nearly 60% of college student reported binge drinking in the prior month.

Binge drinking is associated with a number of health risks and dangerous behaviors. Those who binge drink are more likely to engage in drunk driving, hazardous activities, and unsafe sex. Moreover, binge drinking has been linked to a change in an individual’s DNA, making them more susceptible to alcohol cravings. Long term, this could lead to alcoholism.

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Preventing bad drinking habits is the best way to prevent addiction. If you know someone who might have a dependence on alcohol and needs help, contact a treatment provider today for information about detox and rehab options.

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