College presidents across the country believe that excessive drinking by college students is the number one campus-life problem. Some of the obvious dangers of student alcohol misuse include:
According to requirements of the Federal Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act and its 1989 amendments, institutions that receive Federal funds:
Because of the fear of consequences from violating rules regarding campus drinking, underage drinkers sometimes put themselves and others in danger. In response, some schools have addressed this issue as they try to avoid sending a message of permissiveness about illegal underage alcohol and binge drinking without scaring students into inaction when a situation becomes dangerous.
A number of schools are adopting a “Good Samaritan” rule so that in medical emergencies, violations of campus alcohol policies will not necessarily be enforced. The University of Maryland recently endorsed a Good Samaritan Rule for a one-year trial basis. Other colleges, including George Washington University and the University of Virginia, have good Samaritan rules that provide either a break or amnesty to students who seek help in a medical emergency.
The NIAAA College Guidelines for College Drinking: What We Know and What We Need to Learn concludes: “Focus group research can augment understanding of trends identified in surveys of campus populations. Ongoing program evaluations within the institution are crucial to assess the success and impact of any interventions that are developed and initiated by college administrators to reduce alcohol misuse on campus. To design a program once and assume it will continue to be useful, effective, and relevant for years to come is unrealistic.”