Winston-Salem, NC – A pediatric researcher at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center hopes to reduce college problem drinking and the problems associated with drinking through a $3.2 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
Robert H. DuRant, Ph.D., a pediatric researcher at Brenner Children’s Hospital and principal investigator of the grant, will select 10 universities in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Georgia to participate in the study. Five colleges will participate in the programs and five will be placed in a control group.
“We hope to develop individual plans for each college campus after we have identified the unique characteristics of each institution,” DuRant said. “For example, some colleges allow tail gaiting before ballgames, and at other institutions, problem drinking occurs primarily at fraternity and sorority parties. We plan to look at each institution’s unique areas and design plans to meet a specific campuses’ needs.”
DuRant and his team of researchers also believe by reducing alcohol binges, they can reduce the injuries associated with problem drinking, such as injuries from falls, fighting, and driving while intoxicated.
“Research has shown that students who binge drink engage in risky sexual behaviors and that the incident of sexual assault rises,” he said.
“We know that certain things work – such as establishing compliance checks for places that sell alcoholic beverages to students -- and we anticipate that some of the plans will be the same from college to college.
But our overall goal is to curb drinking among students and to change or influence social norms on college campuses.”
Over 43 percent of college students reported binge drinking in the last two weeks and of those who drank, students listed the primary reason they drank was to get intoxicated, according to a recent college binge drinking survey.
“Many college and university presidents are concerned about drinking on their campuses and many already have some measures in place to help prevent accidental deaths and injuries,” DuRant said. “Our goal is to take a look at what is working and devise a plan that others can use.”
Researchers at the University of South Carolina at Columbia and Clemson University will collaborate with DuRant on the study, which will take about five years to complete.
Media Contact: Rae Beasley, (336) 716-6878 or Jonnie Rohrer, (336) 716-6972.