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Release:March 13, 2000


UI president to be featured at Harvard news conference on binge drinking

(For further information, contact Ellen Wilson, Amy Ekola, or Joe Sutherland at Burness Communications: 301-652-1558)

Editor's Note: There is limited space available for accredited media outlets outside of Boston to hear the press conference by telephone. Please register with Amy Ekola at the above number.

This material is embargoed for release at 11 a.m., EST, Tuesday, March 14.

New findings from the nation's preeminent survey and analysis of college-level drinking will be released at a press conference Tuesday, March 14 at 11 a.m. in Boston. The latest findings, to be published in the Journal of American College Health, come from the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study's 1999 survey of more than 14,000 college students at 119 nationally representative, four-year colleges in 39 states.

The report will provide new information on "frequent binge drinking," a problem that is emerging as an entrenched and dangerous part of campus life. Binge drinkers are men who had five or more — or women who had four or more — drinks in a row at least once in the previous two weeks. Frequent binge drinkers consume those amounts more than once a week.

Findings from the latest survey will be compared to surveys of college students conducted in 1993 and 1997 to provide insights into changes and trends taking place around binge drinking over a six-year period. During this time, there has been heightened national focus on college binge drinking and increased efforts by college administrations to address the problem. However, as this year's spring break approaches, the same types of campus problems — disturbances of the peace, encounters with police, injuries, and, in a few cases, even deaths — continue, as in previous years. The research is funded under a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

WHEN: 11 a.m., Tuesday, March 14, 2000

WHERE: Harvard School of Public Health

677 Huntington Avenue, Kresge Building, First Floor, Room 110

WHO: Henry Wechsler, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health

Mary Sue Coleman, Ph.D., president, University of Iowa

Joel Wiegert, former binge drinker, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Ed McGlothlin, abstainer, Florida State University

The 1993 Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study was the first national study in almost 50 years to track just how widespread and harmful binge drinking had become. It found that two of five students — 44 percent — qualified as binge drinkers, experiencing numerous alcohol problems and imposing negative second-hand effects on non-bingeing students. Today, binge drinking is widely recognized as the most serious public health problem confronting American colleges.