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Alcohol abuses an increasing trend

Nov. 3, 1998

BY BRITTNEY PARTRIDGE

Staff Writer

Brittney_Partridge@baylor.edu

Already this year, Baylor has experienced increased difficulties involving the consumption of alcohol by minors, and unfortunately, other universities are encountering these same problems.

According to Chief Jim Doak of the Baylor Department of Public Safety, their officers received a number of party calls this past weekend and issued five minor in possession charges in and around the campus area. As of Oct. 31, Baylor Police has issued 29 MIP's already this year, compared with 28 issued last school year.

'We've already gone past what we did all of last year, so you can only imagine what lies in store during the big months of the spring,' Doak said. 'It's not something that is unique to Baylor. It's definitely a common problem at all the other universities as well. We're just seeing an increase in student involvement and irresponsible drinking patterns.'

Other universities are indeed experiencing problems with alcohol consumption among their students. According to the Phoenix House, a national non-profit substance abuse organization, America's 12,000,000 college students drink 430,000,000 gallons of alcohol each year.

Captain Nick Doran of the Southern Methodist University Department of Public Safety said SMU has experienced some increase in alcohol related problems this year. No specific statistics were available at this time.

'It is probably no different here than at most schools,' Doran said. 'We don't allow drinking on campus in public places, and a lot of our students are caught with booze and beer, and a lot of them with phony identification cards. We have a zero-tolerance policy for alcohol violations, and we are enforcing it as best we can this year.'

Texas Christian University, on the other hand, has not seen an evident increase in alcohol consumption on their campus this year.

'We haven't had many problems with drinking on campus this year, and I haven't noted a real increase,' Assistant Chief J. C. Williams of the TCU Police Department said. 'The majority of the MIP's that have been issued are from the Fort Worth Police Department.'

The TCU Alcohol and Drug Education Center reported that 45.9 percent of their students admitted to having five or more drinks in one sitting, which is called binge drinking, in the previous two weeks before the survey, given earlier this year.

Unfortunately, binge drinking has become the norm on many college campuses today, and experts estimate that thousands of students die from excessive drinking each year.

'There's not much you can do except deal with it head on,' Doak said. 'There's just no advantage to drinking underage.'

Amanda Gunter, a Midland freshman, said she believes alcohol is definitely a problem at Baylor, but she has not encountered any problems with it herself.

'I have a problem with people who go out and drink just to get drunk,' Gunter said. 'In college, the majority of the people don't drink responsibly. I think that the consequences of drinking underage far outweigh the benefits.'

Gunter said although Baylor has experienced an increase in drinking problems, she believes other campuses probably have much more severe alcohol problems.

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