Increase in College Student Drinking and Drug Use Indicative of Drug War Failure, Says Gary L. Fisher, Ph.D.

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The report issued today on college student binge drinking and drug use by the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University shows that close to 23% of this group meets the criteria for substance abuse or dependence. Furthermore, there have been increases in the frequency of binge drinking and the use of illegal drugs over the past decade.

Rethinking Our War on Drugs: Candid Talk About Controversial Issues

The report issued today on college student binge drinking and drug use by the Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University shows that close to 23% of this group meets the criteria for substance abuse or dependence. Furthermore, there have been increases in the frequency of binge drinking and the use of illegal drugs over the past decade.

According to Gary L. Fisher, Ph.D., former Director of the Center for Substance Abuse Technologies at the University of Nevada, Reno and author of books on the subject, "The CASA report is no surprise to anyone who studies these issues. The National Drug Control Strategy has failed in its three missions: reduce drug use, reduce the consequences of drug abuse, and reduce the availability of illegal drugs. The Bush Administration continues to put more and more money into failed efforts to control the supply of drugs in the United States and less and less in prevention activities. While the Administration is recommending the termination of underage drinking programs in the Department of Education and the Department of Justice and cuts in federal substance abuse prevention efforts, CASA has documented the problem of drinking and drugging on college campuses and the Surgeon General has issued a ‘Call to Action’ on underage drinking. Even the President of Mexico has scolded President Bush over our country’s failure to reduce the demand for illegal drugs."

Fisher discusses the failure of the National Drug Control Strategy, underage drinking, substance abuse prevention, and other related topics in his new book "Rethinking Our War on Drugs: Candid Talk About Controversial Issues" (Praeger Publishing). According to Fisher, illicit drug use among college students rose more than 82% in the ten year period from 1996 to 2005. He provides evidence that contradicts the statements of Drug Czar John Walters that drug use is down.

Fisher offers expert commentary on our persistent alcohol and drug problems and offer solutions to improve our drug control strategy and to reduce underage drinking:

•    Remove supply reduction activities from the National Drug Control Strategy

•    Institute policies and programs to reduce the harm caused by drug abuse, including needle exchange programs, drug consumption rooms, and heroin distribution

•    Include alcohol in the mandate of the Office of Drug Control Policy.

•    Eliminate marketing directed at underage drinkers (i.e. limit all marketing to product characteristics and no marketing in media with large underage audiences).

•    Raise alcohol excise taxes, a proven method to reduce underage drinking.

About Gary L. Fisher:

Gary L. Fisher is Founder and was the first Director at the Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies at the University of Nevada, Reno. A former Professor of Counseling and Educational Psychology, he is the author of a textbook on substance abuse counseling that is now in its third edition. Fisher's career has spanned 31 years and includes work as a private practice clinician and in public schools as a psychologist. Visit his blog at http://www.garylfisherphd.com

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