Letter to the editor: Talk to college freshmen about alcohol
First thoughts of back-to-college season typically involve endless trips to IKEA and Target, where dorm room accoutrements are agonized over and purchased. The days and weeks before classes start should also include conversations about alcohol and the risks associated with underage drinking.
Underage drinking carries significant risks far beyond its illegality. The first six weeks of a student’s first year in college are a vulnerable time for harmful and underage college drinking and alcohol-related consequences because of student expectations and social pressures at the start of the academic year. Relationships and patterns of behavior are established early, and students should start the year on solid footing for success.
Talking to college- bound students about making wise decisions is a critical part of prevention. Parents can learn more about starting these conversations by accessing Responsibility.org’s new resource, “Parents, You’re Not Done Yet,” developed to facilitate communications between parents and students, to inform everyone of the risks involved with underage drinking, to coordinate refusal strategies, and to raise awareness for these students as they become more independent.
The good news, according to a recent Monitoring the Future study, is that drinking among college students is declining; moreover, from 2017-18 there has been a statistically significant decline in binge drinking, bringing it to an all-time low.
Conversations are the key to keeping these numbers going in the right direction. For more information about preventing underage drinking in college, visit http://go-faar.org/ PYNDY.
Benjamin R. Nordstrom
The writer is executive director of Responsibility.org.