Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

State News

October 30, 2011

Virginia Tech develops plan to curb alcohol abuse

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) — Virginia Tech has developed a plan to curb alcohol abuse over the next seven years.

The report released Friday says 57 percent of Virginia Tech students drink beyond moderation and about 500 injuries occur each year at the school as a result of alcohol misuse and abuse.

The Roanoke Times reports that the plan calls for engaging student leaders and providing risk-management training for student clubs. A campus task force has also called for a commitment to expanded opportunities that don’t involve drinking.

Tech administrators are writing budget requests to fund the report’s recommendations, and if the money can be furnished by student fees, it will be available in the fall of 2012, said Ed Spencer, vice president for student affairs. It will include a recommendation for new office space and employment resources for the Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center.

“We will make progress,” Spencer told the newspaper when asked what the task force might accomplish.

But he said he had to acknowledge that a dramatic reversal in drinking patterns or an end to abuse would require a major cultural change.

Spencer formed the task force because of broad concerns that U.S. college students drink dangerous amounts of beer, wine and liquor.

The report issued Friday, which analyzes a variety of social and other interventions to combat overconsumption, in one section calls for the establishment of a Maroon Band Watch Program, a group of students educated in alcohol matters and related first aid and CPR, to bring greater and more sophisticated peer support.

“A Maroon Band Watch volunteer at an off-campus party may bring about a good intervention; the spread of actively caring principles may help in many locales; and health-and-safety merit can have a ubiquitous application,” the report said.

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