At One College, Alcohol Abuse Help Unused By Some Students

Drinking, partying and hanging with friends was the norm for psychology senior James Dodge when he first arrived at MSU. Since then, he said he’s realized there are other, healthier ways to enjoy the college experience.

But for many college-aged people, seeking help might not be a priority.

A national survey conducted in 2009 and released last week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration showed of the 374,000 substance abuse treatment admissions ages 18 to 24, about 30 percent sought treatment for alcohol abuse. About 12,000 of those admissions were college students and about 46 percent of those — or about 5,600 students — sought help.

“I thought it was normal behavior to go out every weekend,” Dodge said. “It didn’t work out for 

Dodge is the co-president of MSU’s chapter of Active Minds, a student mental health advocacy group. He said it’s a big misconception that everybody in college engages in substance abuse.

High-risk behavior among MSU students has been declining in recent years, according to data from the National College Health Assessment Survey through Olin Health Center. More than 1,460 students took part in spring 2010’s survey — the most recent data — and reported they drank an average of about four drinks at their last party, down from about 5.5 in 2000.

The survey showed 1.3 percent of respondents had been diagnosed with a substance abuse problem within the past year. Of that number, about 72 percent had been treated for the issue.

In a previous State News article, Becky Allen, an alcohol, tobacco and other drugs health educator with Olin Health Center, said although binge drinking still occurs, MSU officials have been able to decrease the average number of drinks consumed.

“Alcohol abuse … is a mental disorder, and it needs treatment,” Dodge said. “(Some younger students) try to conform into that (behavior) because college is a scary time and place.”

Resources are available to those seeking help, Dodge said, but added students do have to make the effort to reach out.

“It’s not like the Counseling Center can go and knock on your door,” he said.

ASMSU Director of Media Relations Samantha Artley said Legal Services receives about 800 cases a year of students seeking legal help, many of which are MIP-related.

Off campus, East Lansing police officers said they are willing to assist those dealing with substance abuse issues.

“As the police, we put our best foot forward and hold seminars,” East Lansing police Sgt. Scott Wriggelsworth said. “That only goes so far or as well as the people listen.”

Read more…

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.