Alcohol abuse prevention: a wasted effort?

Blacksburg, Va., April 26, 2017 – Top of the Stairs: Tots is one of Blacksburg’s most popular bar hangouts and home to TOTS Tuesday, where students and residents can come together to sing and listen to karaoke, as well as drink alcohol every Tuesday night.  Photo: Kameron Kopecky

by Kameron Kopecky–

Underage drinking is one of the biggest problems on college campuses throughout the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year, and cost the U.S. $24 billion in economic costs in 2010.”

Virginia Tech has groups for students whose main goal is to combat underage drinking, as well as classes to teach incoming students about alcohol before they arrive on campus. They, along with other colleges are taking initiative and coming up with ways to try to combat underage drinking.

Universities, including Virginia Tech, are testing out various methods, such as Hokie Wellness and AlcoholEdu, to try and educate and prevent underage drinking by addressing it early on. At the beginning of each student’s freshman year, they are required to take the online AlcoholEdu course.  Their main goal “…is to create a welcoming and inclusive campus, and to reduce the negative consequences of alcohol misuse and abuse on campus as well as the incidents of unwanted sexual behavior.”

Virginia Tech junior Evan Burton said he recalls his experience with AlcoholEdu as a time that he rushed through the online course and called the course a joke.

If most students are like Burton, the effectiveness of the online course is clearly in question and it seems Virginia Tech may need to look for alternative methods to educate students on the dangers of alcohol abuse.

While college can be rigorous, stressful, and overwhelming at times, some students may search for ways to help them relieve their stresses through the consumption of alcohol.

For some it becomes more than simply a way to alleviate stress.

“I feel like it’s out there [alcohol] and I’m doing it. I am not going to stop [drinking],” Burton said.


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