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Maryland Releases Survey On College Drinking

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) -- An eye-opening new report reveals drinking is widespread on Maryland college campuses, with almost half of students binge-drinking once a month.

Mike Hellgren reports Johns Hopkins is one of nine campuses taking part of the survey and has a closer look at the numbers.

More than 4,000 students answered questions in one of the most comprehensive reports ever taken about alcohol use among students in Maryland. It found widespread abuse.

For many, excessive drinking is a normal part of college life. Last year, an off-campus party at Salisbury University turned out of control. Dash cam video from police show students on roofs, beer cans littering streets. They made arrests and used pepper spray.

Across Maryland, it came as no surprise to many administrations when students revealed their own alcohol use in a sweeping new survey, including 47% saying they binge drink once a month and 90% saying alcohol is easy to obtain.

"It's also just part of the college norm these days. It's not just here. It's everywhere," said Towson University senior Karina.

"There's this perception that drinking is what you do and for many students, it is what they do. But when you drink to excess, that's when you have the problems and that's really what this survey is looking at: excessive drinking," said Dr. Sheilah Horton, Loyola University.

And its consequences. Among students who drink, 34% admitted blacking out, 14% said they hurt themselves and seven percent said they were sexually assaulted.

"You do babysit your friends. You stand over the toilet with them when they throw up; they can't go to class the next day. It's definitely abuse of it," said Caitlin Crisafulli.

Educators say they'll use the numbers to target those most at risk.

"And so that's the challenge. How do we impact the culture on college campuses so that drinking is not acceptable?" Horton said.

But there are no quick and easy answers to the hard questions on how to prevent abuse---and make the lessons stick.

The survey showed about one in eight drove drunk and one in four missed classes.

Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks in a two hour period for men and four for women.

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