Dartmouth: Numbers Down for Binge Drinking

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by Associated Press

HANOVER, N.H. — Two years after Dartmouth College started a national initiative to reduce binge drinking, it says the number of its students treated for extreme alcohol intoxication has been reduced by more than half.

In 2011, Dartmouth started a project with other colleges and universities that brought together campus teams to share experiences and help one another test strategies. It became known as the National College Health Improvement Program.

Dartmouth’s team wanted to get rid of cases of medical interventions in which students registered a blood alcohol count greater than .25, more than three times the legal limit in New Hampshire. In the 2012-2013 school year, 31 students in that category needed medical help. That number is down from 63 the previous year and down from 80 two years ago.

Dartmouth and other schools participating in the project are attending an informational session in Boston this week to share experiences.

At the heart of the effort is a methodology called “Plan-Do-Study-Act,” which allows teams to figure out a way to address a problem, put it into immediate use on a small scale, study the results, and then make rapid changes based on the result. The collaborative encourages participants to tailor their approaches to high-risk drinking to best suit their campuses.

“While the information collected over these two years provides reason to be cautiously optimistic, additional time, study and evaluation are needed before firm conclusions can be drawn about the efficacy of our efforts,” said Charlotte Johnson, dean of the college. “We have more work to do.”

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