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University joins national collaborative on high-risk drinking


Ohio University has recently joined the Learning Collaborative on High Risk Drinking.

This unprecedented group initiative includes Dartmouth, Princeton, Stanford, Duke, Northwestern, Cornell, Boston and other universities and colleges who will work together to identify the most effective ways to lessen high-risk drinking among college students.

The collaborative will use comprehensive evaluation and measurement techniques to confront this problem that affects nearly 40 percent of all college students in the United States.  Member institutions will share their experiences, data, and best practices, with the ultimate goals of both lowering the rate of binge drinking and reducing the incidence of the harm associated with this behavior.

They will meet in face-to-face workshops over the next two years to learn and develop strategies for this serious issue that is shared by campuses across the country. The collaborative plans to publish its findings.

"Ohio University welcomes the opportunity to be a part of The Learning Collaborative on High Risk Drinking," said Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis. "The important work we will do together is critical to the health and safety of our students. While most students make great choices, for some the choice to engage in high-risk drinking behaviors brings about extremely negative short-term and long-term consequences. "

Several years ago, Ohio University developed a strategic plan to lessen the incidence and negative effects of high-risk drinking among OHIO students. The multi-year plan focuses on discipline, intervention, communication, law enforcement, positive student engagement, community development, assessment and implementation. From plan recommendations, the university has implemented stricter sanctions for alcohol violations, increased alcohol education and awareness, developed health and intervention services and programs, and supported more student involvement and dialogue in keeping themselves and their peers responsible, safe and civil.

These ongoing efforts have resulted in increasingly lower infractions for alcohol use, such as arrests, probations, suspensions and expulsions. Most recently, the university and the city of Athens implemented a safety campaign that reminds students that abuse of alcohol and similar unsafe behaviors can have a negative effect on their reputations and future careers.

The collaborative, a joint undertaking between Dartmouth College and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, is also the inaugural effort of the National College Health Improvement Project (NCHIP). Work begins in June, and members will convene every six months to share their research and findings.

"We thank NCHIP and Dartmouth for their leadership on this initiative and look forward to working with other universities to develop and implement the most effective ways to address this serious health issue," said McDavis.

By the Numbers

•    Close to 2,000 college students in the United States die each year from alcohol-related injuries, including motor vehicle accidents.

•    An estimated 600,000 students are injured while under the influence, according to research from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. These include falls, fights, and non-vehicle accidents.

•    Research has consistently shown that high-risk drinking also leads to other negative consequences including sexual assaults, vandalism, academic failure, and arrests.