Colleges Need to Work with Communities on Curbing Student Alcohol Abuse, Washington Attorney Says

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Washington personal injury attorney Dean Brett says a recently issued study shows that colleges are not collaborating with their communities to reduce student drinking and its consequences, such as drunk driving.

Dean Brett

Alcohol abuse among college students is a serious concern, and our local colleges and universities should be making every effort possible to combat it, including getting out into their communities.

A recently released study indicates that not enough colleges are working with their communities to curb student drinking and its possible consequences, such as drunk driving, Washington personal injury attorney Dean Brett says.

“Alcohol abuse among college students is a serious concern, and our local colleges and universities should be making every effort possible to combat it, including getting out into their communities,” says Brett, a founding partner of Brett & Coats, Attorneys at Law, PLLC, a personal injury law firm with offices in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellingham and Spokane.

Brett & Coats recently launched a website, http://www.victimsofdrunkdrivers.com, which is dedicated to providing statistics, information and other resources to Washington residents whose lives have been impacted by an accident with an intoxicated driver. The site also tracks developments in local and national efforts to prevent drunk driving and DUI/DWI accidents.

“The consequences of student drinking aren’t limited to campus. It affects the surrounding community, especially when students drive to off-campus bars or parties, and it places more drunk drivers on the road,” Brett says.

The study, prepared by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, reports that only 33 percent of 351 schools surveyed said they were collaborating with their community on alcohol control strategies such as those proposed in a 2002 report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Those measures include conducting compliance checks to monitor illegal alcohol sales, responsible alcoholic beverage service training, restrictions on alcohol outlets or interventions to address access to low-cost alcohol.

The University of Minnesota study, which will appear in the October 2010 edition of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, comes less than 12 months after the school’s researchers reported that colleges previously identified as “heavy-drinking” had shown little improvement in curbing the binge drinking habits of their students.

According to the NIAAA, nearly 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured while under the influence of alcohol each year.

“When you consider the dangers of alcohol abuse among young people, including drunk driving, there’s no excuse for inaction or ineffective strategies by college administrators,” Brett says.

In 2008, there were 11,773 people killed in the U.S. in crashes involving a driver with a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 or higher, according to the latest statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. There were 182 alcohol-related traffic fatalities in the state of Washington in 2008, or 35 percent of all traffic deaths.

About Brett & Coats

Brett & Coats, Personal Injury Attorneys, PLLC is a Washington personal injury law firm with offices in Seattle, Tacoma, Bellingham and Spokane. The firm represents car accident victims, including those injured in DUI/DWI accidents, and other personal injury victims throughout the state of Washington. For more information, call the firm at 1.800.925.1875, use its online form or visit http://www.victimsofdrunkdrivers.com.

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