Closing the Case: A Few Solutions to the Alcohol Abuse Problem at UMD. Blog Article #10

INTRODUCTION

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Alcohol abuse will most likely always be a problem at the University of Maryland, or any college for that matter. It is just simply part of the culture. Nonetheless, the problem can be diminished just like the teen smoking epidemic  was in the 1990’s. Very few young people smoke now compared to the number that did 10 or 20 years ago. If the right actions are taken, and the solutions I’ll discuss in this post are a good start, then the problem of alcohol abuse can definitely be resolved. The solutions I discuss involve the police department here at UMD because of the way I framed the problem.

SOLUTION 1

One problem that I believe is making the binge-drinking problem at UMD worse than it needs to be is policy confusion and student-police relations. Some young people drink because its an adventurous experience since its against the law. The problem stems from the fact that many students take this to the extreme. One solution to the problem is to stop sending mixed signals to college students. Can I drink? Do the police care? Am I going to get arrested? Go to jail? What is and isn’t okay? That’s a lot of questions. In an effort to reduce extreme drinking on campus, the University of Central Michigan police department visited students in their homes to talk honestly about drinking. They answered those questions for students. This dispelled myths about drinking for the students. Students, especially underage ones, were informed on what they could and could not do when it came to drinking. During the student interviews that I conducted, both interviewees, who are students here at UMD, agreed that this solution could work at this university.

SOLUTION 2

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One other potential solution to the problem, that you as students may be opposed to, is to decrease the accessibility of alcohol and decrease alcohol advertising. To use the analogy of smoking again, the use of cigarettes, especially among teens, decreased significantly after the tobacco advertising ban in the late ’90s. Decreasing advertising of alcohol around college campuses may help resolve the issue. Even though Keystone tastes like sadness, its hard to beat 150 beers for $70.

 

REFLECTION

Throughout the semester, I have been searching for problems resulting from extreme drinking, problems contributing to it, and potential solutions to help alleviate the problem. As the semester progressed, I made changes to what problem I was trying to solve and also altered my proposed strategy several times. I had to make changes as I realized that some of my earlier proposed solutions had already been implemented at UMD. Though what I have presented here barely scratches the surface as far as potential solutions go, it’s a move in the right direction.

 

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What Has UMD Done to Decrease Alcohol Abuse Among Students? Blog Article #7

INTRODUCTION

As pointed out in my first blog post, college students have a track record of overdoing it with alcohol. Things are no different at the University of Maryland. Fortunately, campus authorities have already taken several steps to alleviate the problem. In this post, I’m going to tell you about some of the solutions that have been implemented to help prevent and resolve alcohol abuse on campus.

ALCOHOL EDUCATION

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If you started at UMD as a freshman, you may remember this alcohol education program. called AlcoholEdu, that you had to complete during your first semester at the university. As a transfer student, I didn’t know about this until stumbling upon it as part of my research. Upon looking into the program, I expected it to be cheesy and preachy. Surprisingly, it is just the opposite. The online program tailors itself to each individual student based on things like drinking behaviors and level of awareness. The way the course is laid out changes based on how risky of a drinker you are. The learning interface is really good and not overly dull. The program is split into two parts so that you get reminded about what you learned as events like Homecoming and Halloween parties roll around. Overall, this program has both increased students knowledge and awareness about alcohol while also acting as a way to gather data to initiate and substantiate further research. Clearly though, educating incoming freshman about drinking has not fully resolved the alcohol abuse problem on campus.

HELP FOR TROUBLED STUDENTS

The University Health Center has this page, and others like it, available for students dealing with substance abuse. This source helps you determine if you, or someone you know, has problems with alcohol and what steps you can take to remediate the problem. Further links within this website make it easy to find out more if you need to. This was easy enough to find via a google search so it is definitely accessible to students. The University Health Center also has program called UMD weekends. You can sign up to get weekly emails about alcohol-free weekend events at UMD.

Breaking the Law

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FAILING POLICY

Though I understand that its a bit of a legal formality, this UMD web page about the campus Drug and Alcohol Abuse Policy is almost humorous. To quote one of the policies listed, “this policy prohibits the possession or use of alcohol by any student under the age of 21 or furnishing of alcohol to a person known to be under the age of 21.” I honestly laughed a little inside when I saw that. As a student at UMD, I know that this policy, among many others like it, is violated on a daily basis. Enforcing strict laws like this is difficult though. Therefore, either the policy itself or the implementation of it needs changing.

DISCUSSION

Educating students about drinking is only one solution to decreasing alcohol abuse at UMD. There is more that can be done. Fortunately for now, help is available for students who know, or at least think, that they have a problem. Though brute law enforcement certainly isn’t the answer, the policy on alcohol use at UMD is almost pointless as it is violated nearly 24/7 by students all over campus. What do you think? Would creating a new, better-enforceable policy be a solution to the problem?

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