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Maryland Colleges Join Forces To Fight Excessive Drinking

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It's a problem at college campuses across the country: alcohol abuse. But Maryland colleges are now coming together to fight excessive drinking.

Linh Bui has details on this collaboration.

The idea is colleges can accomplish more when they work together and with community partners.

It's common on almost every campus.

"People drink in college," said Jordan Bondyra, Loyola University Maryland freshman.

"Take a load off. Have a few beers or a few drinks," said Dan Smith, Loyola University Maryland freshman.

But excessive drinking is a major problem.

In Maryland, one in five college students shows signs of alcohol abuse.

"You will always have those cases of excessive drinking, like any university," said Danny Mayi, Loyola University Maryland senior.

Now there's a new initiative called "Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems" which brings several universities together.

"Alcohol has gotten to be too much of the college experience when we're seeing 1,800 deaths a year, 600,000 unintentional injuries, close to 100,000 rapes and sexual assaults," said David Jernigan, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

The collaborative just released a report on college drinking in the state.

Most Maryland schools offer alcohol education programs and basic training, but this collaborative takes it a step further.

Schools will develop multi-level interventions targeting students, parents and the surrounding area.

"Colleges don't exist in bubbles. They're right next to communities. You've got to work with the communities to reduce the amount of risks from alcohol use," Jernigan said.

The collaborative will provide public health expertise and help schools assess which strategies work for each campus.

"College drinking will go on. We cannot make that go away, but we can help empower them to do it a little bit smarter," said Cindy Parcover, Loyola University Maryland.

The collaborative will also host intensive training sessions. The next one is scheduled for early November.

The University System of Maryland and Johns Hopkins University host the collaborative, and nearly a dozen other colleges participate.

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