Vt Colleges, Health Dept Tackle Binge Drinking

Ann McClure's picture

With a higher-than-average rate of binge drinking among college students in Vermont, the state is working with colleges and universities to try to tackle the problem.

The Health Department held a symposium on Tuesday at Norwich University for colleges and universities to hear from national experts and to share what they've tried and what works with their colleagues.

The University of Vermont is warning parents about events that may trigger binge drinking. Johnson State College has distributed a list of 80 alternatives to drinking. And Norwich is touting a service that offers rides back to campus to prevent drunken driving, following a deadly crash last fall that killed a freshman and critically injured three other students.

"There's no way that we're going to eliminate college drinking," said Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen. But the state and colleges can encourage them to be responsible so they don't drink and drive, rely on binge drinking to enjoy themselves and put themselves at risk of violence, suicide and sexual assaults, he said.

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