The opportunities presented by higher education are endless. Many are wonderful. Some are dangerous. The abuse of alcohol and other drugs is often in the media spotlight, and for good reason.
According a 2005 study from the Boston University School of Public Health, alcohol use in college results in:
- 1,700 students between the age of 18 and 24 dying each year
- 599,000 students between the age of 18 and 24 being unintentional injured
- more than 696,000 students between the age of 18 and 24 being assaulted by another student who has been drinking
- more than 97,000 students between the age of 18 and 24 being sexually assaulted or date raped
Discussing drug and alcohol use with your child can be difficult, especially when it's put in context with sexual behavior or violence. However, you can't afford NOT to have this conversation with your son or daughter. It could mean the difference between life and death.
Syracuse University offers the following eight points for parents speaking with their college students about alcohol and other drugs:
- Set clear and realistic expectations regarding academic performance by your child.
- Stress that alcohol is toxic and excessive consumption can be fatal (binge drinking).
- Encourage your child to intervene when classmates are in trouble with alcohol.
- Learn about the alcohol scene on campus and talk with your child about it.
- Avoid passing on tales of drinking exploits from when you were their age.
- Encourage your child to volunteer in community work.
- Stress that underage alcohol consumption and alcohol-impaired driving are against the law.
- Tell your child to stand up for his or her right to a safe academic environment, one in which they are not affected by other students who abuse alcohol or other drugs.