- The Washington Times - Monday, May 23, 2016

College students who join fraternities or sororities have statistically showed no sign of cutting down alcohol consumption despite interventions, according to a new analysis published by the American Psychological Association.

Researchers at Brown University combed through data from 15 previous studies conducted between 1987 and 2015 and found that no significant difference exists between students subjected to “interventions that provided moderation strategies, skills training or goal setting” and those who did not.

“Current intervention methods appear to have limited effectiveness in reducing alcohol consumption and alcohol-related problems among fraternity and possibly sorority members,” lead researcher Lori Scott-Sheldon, an associate professor at the Brown University Medical School and a senior scientist at the Miriam Hospital, said in a statement.

“Stronger interventions may need to be developed for student members of Greek-letter organizations,” she said.

Ms. Scott-Sheldon’s team looked at data concerning 6,026 college students who belonged to fraternities or sororities during the course of a quarter-century before coming to a conclusion that caught her and her colleagues by surprise.

“We expected that providing Greek members with a thoughtfully designed and carefully administered alcohol intervention would reduce consumption and problems relative to no intervention,” she said in a statement.

“We thought they would work as they did in the broader student population,” she said during an interview with NBC News. “It may just be more challenging to act on your intentions if the environment endorses alcohol use.”

Charles O’Brien, a professor of psychiatry and the founding director of the Center for the Studies of Addiction at Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, told NBC News that he agrees educators and health experts need to make a conscious effort to curb alcohol abuse among college students in order to prevent avoidable overdoses and accidents.

“Basically kids can be very smart, but ignorant about alcohol as a drug,” he told NBC News. “It’s really ridiculous. Officials say, ‘alcohol and drugs.’ Alcohol is a drug just as much as cocaine. I can rattle off a list of students who died from an alcohol overdose, or even worse, who killed other people with their cars.

“This kind of science is needed,” Mr. O’Brien said. “Clearly we have to make an effort. So many students are dying and not just overdoses, but from falling out of windows and from auto accidents.”

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism claim more than 1,800 college students died from drinking-related causes in 2014.

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