Alcohol-Related Deaths at Colleges Raise Questions for Schools

NOVEMBER 9, 2004 - Posted at 4:52 p.m. CDT

FAYETTEVILLE, AR - Some 1,400 college students die each year in alcohol-related incidents.  So far, this autumn has been no exception.

A University of Arkansas student, 20-year-old Bradley Barrett Kemp, died after drinking and taking prescription medicine.  Police are also investigating the unexplained death of another student.  Both deaths occured off-campus.

But the vast majority happen in car accidents and go largely unnoticed.  Universities are trying to change the trend.

One strategy to reduce college drinking called "social norms marketing" tries to persuade students that binge drinking isn't as common as they believe.  Another pursues partnerships with nearby communities to limit alcohol access and punish lawbreakers.

The more comprehensive strategies that discourage excessive boozing demand more time and energy from college leaders.

They also often force administrators to confront a culture of tolerance toward excessive drinking that's often propped up by visiting alumni and cozy relationships between the alcohol industry and college athletics.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)