Alcoholism & Addiction

College Administrators Learn How to Curb Holiday Drinking Incidents

With the holidays approaching, it would make sense that indulging in the occasional alcoholic beverage would be a common occurrence. At the same time, occasions for indulgence tend to increase, which would suggest increased drinking overall.

The same could be said about Halloween on college campuses. As college students tend to still be on campus, it is not uncommon for them to engage in binge drinking or alcohol abuse.

For St. Olaf, featured in a recent Manitou Messenger report, a focus on a dry campus is important, but Halloween on campus is often viewed as the Mardi Gras of the north. Students are provided too many opportunities to cut loose and many take the activities a little too far.

In 2009, six St. Olaf students were hospitalized for acute intoxication; another person was sent to detox. A number of students were also cited for underage consumption over the holiday weekend. A car accident sent victims to a hospital outside of the community because the local ER already had too many patients with alcohol-related injuries.

For the 2010 Halloween holiday, the alcohol-fueled incidents dropped drastically due to the efforts St. Olaf has put into reducing the alcohol cases on Halloween. Administration worked with off-campus landlords, paramedics, the Northfield police and bar owners.

In February of this year, the administration was examining the strong correlation between the bar dances at Halloween and the number of alcohol cases. Bar owners re-evaluated their standards of acceptable behavior, which helped to reduce the number of hospitalizations and other alcohol-related incidents.

At the same time, St. Olaf launched an educational campaign targeted at the students, with positive outcomes. The results demonstrate that a proactive approach can be very beneficial in reducing the number of alcohol-related incidents on campus.

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