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Originally published: 2013-07-11 10:20:34
Last modified: 2013-07-11 10:21:19

Our View: ASU lessons for whole county

The Appalachian State University campus community is neither immune nor alone in feeling the effects of high-risk college drinking. And because it is a concern here, as in myriad other colleges and universities across the nation, ASU student development professionals are right in their intention to actively engage in addressing such behavior this fall.

But it won't be enough if the current plan addresses the problem with only incoming students. We feel that the seriousness of high-risk college drinking merits more than a program aimed at freshmen and transfers. The entire college community should be continually educated as to the possible outcomes of such risky behavior -- and we are encouraged that this is a goal of the campaign.

Such education is necessary because high-risk college drinkers don't affect a community in isolation. Indeed, nationwide, almost 700,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking, and nearly 100,000 students of the same ages are victims of alcohol-related sexual assaults.

Strikingly, more than 3.3 million students drive under the influence of alcohol -- a statistic that affects our entire county.

ASU's current initiative arose from an alcohol summit convened following the accidental death of a student who slipped, hit his head on a rock and lay unconscious in a stream after returning to campus following an evening out drinking.

Some of the findings of that summit and campus police reports are startling, including the report of a student with a blood alcohol content level of .24. For the record, a blood alcohol level above .21 typically results in loss of consciousness -- and death is not an uncommon outcome of such a BAC.

Of course, high-risk drinking is not limited to our campus community. But an initiative to address the concern here is a good start for all of us. Expanding the campus community's "It's Up to Me" campaign, which promotes the idea, "if you see something, say something," is also part of the solution.

"Prevention and education" will make the difference says Dean of Students J.J. Brown. He's right, and that's a lesson we can all learn from.