- Associated Press - Saturday, September 26, 2015

SPOKANE, Washington (AP) - Officials with the University of Idaho say they want to implement strategies to reduce underage drinking and alcohol abuse among students.

The Spokesman-Review (https://bit.ly/1KuPYxJ) reports that the university is teaming up with National Institute of Health and other schools as part of their alcohol-abuse prevention effort.

Sharon Fritz, who oversees the drug and alcohol programs at the university’s Counseling and Testing Center, says more than 40 percent of UI students engage in binge drinking. The number is particularly high in first-year students because many freshmen are aware from their parents and without guidance for the first time.

Binge drinking is five drinks for males and four drinks for females within a two-hour period.

“They’re making their own decisions without support and guidance, and that sometimes put them in harm’s way,” she said.

Rather than telling students not to drink, the school wants to educate young people on how to drink alcohol responsibly, Fritz said. The goal is let students know of the negative consequences of excessive drinking, such as poor academic performance, DUIs or unprotected sex.

The school also screens students who ask about alcohol abuse. Last fall, more than 370 UI students underwent screening with a counselor.

According to the National College Health Assessment, 17 percent of UI students said they didn’t drink in 2005. In 2013, that number had bumped to about 22 percent. Meanwhile, 65 percent of students said they’ve had some sort of alcoholic drink over the past 30 days that same year.

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Information from: The Spokesman-Review, https://www.spokesman.com


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