Alcohol Abuse On College Campuses: Community Issues

2868 words - 11 pages

Despite minimum-purchase-age laws, college students regularly have access to, and drink, alcohol. The costs and problems resulting from underage drinking include the following categories:* traffic crashes, Over 1,400 students ages 18 to 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries including motor vehicle crashes .* violence* property crime* vandalism* suicide* burns* high-risk sex* poisonings* psychoses* dependency treatment* fatal and non-fatal injuriesFor each category of alcohol-related problems, come various costs to society. Alcohol-attributable violence and traffic crashes dominated these costs. Underage drinking accounted for at least 16% of alcohol sales in 2001. Furthermore, alcohol abuse among students led to 3,170 deaths and 2.6 million other harmful events .The estimated $61.9 billion bill included* $5.4 billion in medical costs,* $14.9 billion in work loss and other resource costs, and* $41.6 billion in lost quality of life.I am a 48-year-old non-traditional student embarking on a new career; I am also a parent with children who are themselves, grown and older than most current students at colleges today as well as here at Maine Maritime Academy. This is one reason for feeling somewhat removed from the student body and as with most subjects feel as though I were "on the outside looking in" with regard to many issues facing students today particularly that of alcohol abuse. I feel it is especially difficult for me to understand the problems with alcohol abuse on college campuses and here a MMA as I drink alcoholic beverages very rarely. However, it has not escaped my observations and my experience includes witnessing the results of alcohol abuse here at the campus as well as during the past training cruises. I have also overheard conversations of students on this subject.It may be that younger students are compelled to drink to access as a right of passage. Perhaps the motivating factor is peer-pressure and a desire to "fit in". Perhaps, they are stressed and they have found that alcohol apparently gives them some temporary relief from the burden of class work, and schedules.Incidents:Some of the incidents at Maine Maritime Academy that may or may not have alcohol involved:* setting garbage dumpsters on fire;* activating fire alarms;* possession of alcohol;* trespass, I in 2006;* larceny;* property/community damage (such as causing damage to dorm rooms or parks and public areas in and around Castine);* sexual assault on fellow students;* fighting with fellow students;* keeping other students awake and* generally disturbing the peace.Unfortunately and surprisingly, among the incidents I have witnessed, not all of the students were the typically traditional kind. There was the relatively minor case of the older student - age 30 who during training cruise 2006, had become drunk. This person is one not known to drink at all. I observed him walking back to he ship crying. It seemed as though he was surprised at himself for deciding...

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