Schools taking a proactive approach to drinking

(letter to editor, Duluth News Tribune, Monday, Dec. 28, 2009)

There is more to the story than was reported in the Dec. 13 article, “UMD keeps closer eye on student drinking,” and the Dec. 18 editorial “Upping the war on binge, underage drinking.”

The University of Minnesota Duluth, the College of St. Scholastica (CSS), and Lake Superior College (LSC) have collaborated to support an umbrella organization called The Tri College and Community Coalition on Student Drinking, or T3C.  Its objective of T3C is to address irresponsible and dangerous use of alcohol by students. Promising campus-community programs and interventions are being identified from published research and with the input of community citizen groups, businesses, law enforcement and other agencies.  T3C has working interactions with the alcohol health educators, administrators and committees at each of the college campuses. T3C also does analysis of National College Health Assessment data from each of the three campuses.  It is my part time job is to coordinate T3C.

In addition to the activities of T3C, CSS has active programming for their students about issues related to alcohol.  They also have a program, Clean – recovery for life, designed to support those in recovery from addiction.

Recently LSC received a grant from the Miller-Dwan Foundation to address alcohol abuse issues among its students.  Students have the opportunity to receive alcohol abuse screening if they are, or a significant other is, concerned about their alcohol use.  Other services and alcohol health education measures are available to LSC students as well.

Also, UMD freshmen and sophomores have the opportunity to take a one credit on line course, “Alcohol and College Life.”

The Duluth campuses and community have taken a proactive approach in dealing with student alcohol use and abuse.  Each year new freshmen enroll, and the effort needs to be ongoing to inform them as well as remind the rest of the students of alcohol abuse consequences including injury, alcohol overdose, lower grades and poor neighbor relations.

J Clark Laundergan PhD

Esko

The writer is professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Minnesota Duluth and coordinator for T3C (www.lsc.edu/t3c).

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