Maryland health and higher education leaders announced today the formation of a partnership to combat excessive drinking on college campuses, which is responsible for an estimated 1,825 deaths nationwide each year, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. A report released by the group showed that about 20% of all Maryland college students exhibit signs of alcohol abuse or dependence.
The Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems, co-chaired by President Ronald J. Daniels of Johns Hopkins and Chancellor Brit Kirwan of the University System of Maryland, brings together presidents of 10 institutions across the state. It will be hosted jointly by the University System of Maryland and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
"We're proud to participate with other university leaders to share best practices, and to work together to improve conditions for our students so we can ensure a safer and healthier future for them," Daniels said.
Excessive drinking is a significant problem on campuses across the country, the group said. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that each year, drinking on college campuses is responsible for 599,000 unintentional injuries such as car crashes and falls, 696,000 physical assaults, 97,000 sexual assaults, 150,000 alcohol-related health problems, 400,000 incidents of unprotected sex, and 3,360,000 incidents of driving while drunk.
According to a report released by the collaborative today, Maryland college students drink at levels similar to the national average—in the state, 19% of underage and 22% of 21- to 24-year-old college students meet criteria for either alcohol abuse or dependence, and almost one-third of underage Maryland college students drove under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
"Like universities across the country, we are aware of the significant problems that underage and excessive drinking can cause for our students, our campuses, and our communities," Kirwan said. "In Maryland, we are strongly committed to addressing these problems responsibly and effectively."
The collaborative's website and two new reports are available at http://www.marylandcollaborative.org.Read more from School of Public Health