For this blog post, I interviewed two University of Maryland sophomores about alcohol abuse on campus. After identifying and defining the problem, we talked about medical amnesty and student-police relations. One of my interviewees is in a fraternity while the other one is a mechanical engineering student at the Clark School of Engineering. In the following discussion, in order to protect their identity, I will refer to these two students as Student 1 and Student 2 respectively.
I began the interview by sharing what I have already learned about alcohol abuse at UMD based on my survey results. Both interviewees agreed that alcohol abuse is a problem at UMD and that something surely needs to be done about it. I then asked my peers how they defined alcohol abuse and got some really good answers. Student 1 defined it as “someone who continually needs assistance when they go out drinking.” Student 2 defined alcohol abuse as students who “don’t know their limits.” These great definitions, which helped further define the problem, provided a good basis to move forward with more specific questions. Though Student 1 then traced the problem back to alcohol experiences from high school, looking there for solutions is out of the scope of my research.
I asked both Students, 1 and 2, if they knew what medical amnesty was. Neither of them could give me a straight answer. Once I explained the law to them, they told me that they were familiar with it; however, they did not know it by its official name nor did they know all of the ins and outs of how the policy works. Student 1 mentioned that there was even a recent incident that occurred where he could have utilized the law to his benefit but didn’t because he didn’t know enough about it.
Next, I talked with my peers about the UMD police force. Student 1 argued that the police department isn’t too concerned about underage drinking. Student 2 mentioned that it seems like they only try to enforce and prevent reckless drinking. When I asked about the drinking policy confusion, one of the things I discussed in blog 7, Student 1 said that it is definitely controversial and sends mixed signals about what students can and can’t do. Nonetheless, he mentioned that the UMD alcohol policies have to remain as they are and the police are the ones responsible for what they choose to enforce. Based on the interview, I concluded that student-police relations at UMD are okay, but there is some room for improvement.
To close the interview, I shared with both students two of my proposed solutions for reducing alcohol abuse at UMD. Both students agreed that raising awareness about medical amnesty would at least help alleviate the consequences of severe alcohol abuse as students would be less hesitant to call for medical help when needed. Moreover, I explained another solution to my interviewees that involves police talking with freshman to let them know what to expect with the enforcement of drinking policies on campus. In my next, and final, blog post, I’ll go into much more detail about my proposed solutions for reducing alcohol abuse at UMD.
*Source for featured image on cover