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Originally published October 26, 2007 at 12:00 AM | Page modified October 28, 2007 at 12:01 PM


The drug and alcohol scene: what a parent can do


Many guidebooks and Web sites discuss colleges' alcohol and drug scenes. Princeton Review highlights colleges from the "reefer madness" to "stone-cold sober" ends of the spectrum.

"It's time to get the 'high' out of higher education .... In this world of fierce global competition, we are losing thousands of our nation's best and brightest to alcohol and drugs, and in the process robbing them and our nation of their promising futures." — Joseph Califano, Jr., chairman, National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse

That was the grim message this spring from the Columbia University-based organization, which urges both colleges and parents to face responsibility for the fact that 49 percent of full-time college students binge drink or abuse drugs.

For parents, its recommendations include:

• During the summer before your child leaves for college, have a comprehensive discussion about substance use — its risks, your expectations, and the consequences you will enforce should they violate the rules. Its survey of college students found 70 percent say parents' expectations influence them to significantly lessen how much they drink, smoke or use other drugs.

• Compare a school's policies against the checklist of key recommended actions for colleges, which include:

(1) Screen all students for substance-abuse problems, target high-risk students and times, provide needed interventions and treatment.

(2) Hold classes and exams Monday through Friday to reduce weekend substance abuse.

(3) Engage students in service-learning courses and community service (students involved in this way have lower rates of substance abuse).

Find more recommended actions at

Seattle Times staff

Copyright © 2007 The Seattle Times Company

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