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Friday Classes, Calls To Parents Among WSU's New Anti-Drinking Tactics

A new effort to address binge drinking at Washington State University could include more calls to parents, more Friday morning classes, and training in CPR for students themselves.

The university in Pullman, Wash., took a hard look at campus drinking culture after a freshman died of alcohol poisoning last fall.

A task force assigned to the issue found that the number of students drinking isn't going up. But there is more extreme drinking in a small segment of the student population.

And Dr. Bruce Wright, who heads Health and Wellness Services at Washington State, says the old anti-drug model wasn't working. “There are programs that all university had in place and we have too that were based on big lecture hall, presentations and there's a lot of data that indicate – here and elsewhere – that those types of approaches don't work.”

Instead, this year's incoming freshmen are participating in group discussions about alcohol use.

The university wants to keep students from starting the weekend early and so it’s asking professors to schedule more Friday morning classes. Another recommendation being considered would bar freshmen from living in fraternity and sorority houses. University health officials say freshmen are at the highest risk for alcohol poisoning and injuries related to drinking.

Students will be trained how to recognize the signs of alcohol poisoning at parties and respond to it. Also, all students who visit the campus clinic will be asked a routine battery of questions about drug and alcohol use. And the school will notify parents the first time their underage kid is caught with booze – a measure allowed by federal law.

On the Web:

Presidential Task Force on Alcohol and Drugs - Washington State University