Penn State urges family involvement in alcohol abuse issue

August 30, 2004

University Park, Pa. -- You can anticipate the magnitude of the alcohol problem among college students when you understand the incidence of alcohol use and abuse among high-school and middle-school students. Recent surveys indicate more than half of high-school students report drinking in the last month. Almost one in five eighth-graders report recent use of alcohol.

"At Penn State we invest considerable energy and resources in our efforts to better understand, treat and hopefully diminish the negative impact that dangerous drinking can have on our students and on their potential for success," said Vicky Triponey, vice president for student affairs. As popular as alcohol has become among young teens in recent years, evidence suggests that abuse can increase even further once they leave home for the first time and experience the independence and corresponding responsibilities of being on their own in college.

"Parents and family members, although distant from the University, can still play a vital role in helping their children to stay safe," Triponey said. "I encourage you to talk about the issue with your son or daughter every chance you get and encourage them to make smart, healthy and safe choices in their social endeavors."

"Penn State has a strong partnership with community and religious groups, the local school district, police departments, medical professionals and others in the State College area. We share a genuine concern for the health and well-being of our student body and we are troubled that alcohol abuse has resulted in an alarming number of students putting themselves and others in harm's way," she said. "All too many Penn State students find themselves in the local hospital emergency room for overdoses of alcohol that require critical care and unfortunately, drunk driving has resulted in the tragic deaths of cherished members of our community including students and faculty."

The State College community was recently ranked the ninth-safest community in the nation, based on a study that examined crime statistics for 281 metropolitan areas from 2002 FBI data.

However, when serious crimes such as assaults and sexual assaults do occur in this community, those incidents frequently involve the use and abuse of alcohol.

For more information about the issue of dangerous drinking, visit some of these Penn State Web sites:

"There are many groups your son or daughter can get involved with at Penn State, world-class sporting events, and many non-alcoholic activities in the evening and late at night," Triponey said. "Dangerous drinking and the corresponding tragedy associated with it does not have to be a part of the college experience. We want each student to succeed and we are confident that desired outcome will be more likely if they make good, responsible and safe choices about drinking and about their involvement in a rewarding college experience at Penn State."

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009