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MEDIA BINGE DISTORTS CAMPUS DRINKING BY MICHAEL HAINES. MICHAEL HAINES IS COORDINATOR OF HEALTH- ENHANCEMENT SERVICES AT NORTHERN ILLINOIS UNIVERSITY.
[NORTH SPORTS FINAL Edition]
Chicago Tribune - Chicago, Ill.
Subjects: Alcohol use; College students; Media coverage
Date: Oct 13, 1998
Start Page: 21
Section: COMMENTARY
Abstract (Document Summary)

The media missed the big story on college campuses across the country last month. It was right there under their noses, but it got washed away by the release of the latest study of drinking behavior at colleges and universities. In the wake of that study, headlines blared: "Students majoring in drunkenness 101," and "Hitting the bar, not the books," painting a bleak picture of colleges across the country.

However, overlooked amid all the hand-wringing and alarm caused by the study was an important bit of good news: A majority of students-- more than 60 percent--do not engage in binge drinking.

Both statements are true, according to the latest data available from an ongoing study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Their research shows that binge drinking reached its highest point in 1986 at 45 percent, and it has declined every year since 1992, dipping to about 37 percent in 1997. At the same time, the number of students reporting that they do not use alcohol has increased for six straight years, topping out at 17 percent in 1997, an all-time high for the study, according to NIDA.

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