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CONTACT: JULIE PHYE
Coordinator, Stepping Up Project
20 Currier Hall
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-1349
email: julie-phye@uiowa.edu

Release: Aug. 29, 2001

National poll supports local efforts to reduce harms from excessive drinking

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- National poll results released today by the A Matter of Degree (AMOD) program of the American Medical Association (AMA) support actions taken by the Stepping Up Project, a community and campus coalition to reduce the harmful effects of excessive drinking in Iowa City and on the University of Iowa campus.

The national poll found that 93 percent of parents of college students believe that easy access to abundant sources of alcohol is a major source of excessive drinking. Stepping Up’s goals for the past five years have included reducing easy access to cheap alcohol, increasing the number of late-night social activities for college students, and the consistent enforcement of alcohol policies.

Stepping Up has pursued many initiatives highlighted in the survey results. For example:

81 percent of parents surveyed said they feel more comfortable sending their child to a college that has strong policies or programs to deter underage and excessive drinking.

  • Coalition members have spoken to parents of new UI students during orientation.
  • UI President Mary Sue Coleman sent a letter to all parents of first-year students asking them to talk with their children about alcohol.
  • Stepping Up partnered with the UI Parents Association to sponsor Nightgames, late night activities at the UI Field House, as a month event.
  • Stepping Up endorsed the UI’s partnership with Planet X to provide discount prices to UI students.

80 percent of registered voters said that cheap beer and shots and all-you-can-drink specials are important contributing factors to binge drinking. 92 percent support enhanced enforcement of laws prohibiting alcohol sales to underage persons, and 89 percent support increased penalties on retail establishments that serve underage or intoxicated persons.

  • Stepping Up supported the passage of a new alcohol ordinance by the Iowa City City Council that prohibits some drink specials and made it easier for Iowa City to enforce laws against illegal alcohol service.

78 percent of registered voters support limiting the number and location of bars close to college campuses.

  • Coalition members are researching alcohol outlet density and the negative social and health effects associated with a high density of retail alcohol outlets.
  • Stepping Up is supporting the efforts of the Iowa City Northside Neighborhood Association to ask that Hy-Vee Food Stores not turn the former Pearson’s Drug Store into a liquor store.

For more information on Stepping Up’s activities or the survey results, contact:

For more information on Stepping Up’s activities or the survey results, contact:

Carolyn Cavitt Sarah Hansen
Chair, Stepping Up Coordinator, Health Iowa/Student Health Services
339-9345 335-8387

 

Will Jennings

Cathy Solow

Northside Neighborhood Assoc.

Parent of an Iowa City West High student

337-7770

Director of Admissions, UI College of Medicine
 

335-8055

 

Charley Buck, MD

Ernie Lehman

UI Parents Association Board

Mayor, Iowa City

319-292-6755

337-2375

 

Steve Parrott

 

Director, University Relations

 

101 Jessup Hall

 

University of Iowa

 

Phone: 319-335-0552

 

steven-parrott@uiowa.edu

 


Attached below is a news release from the American Medical Association (AMA), which was released this morning, containing the findings of the A Matter of Degree (AMOD) program of the AMA, with support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Video News Release Available: Satellite Downlink Coordinates 9 to 9:30 a.m. ET on Galaxy 3R, transponder 14 (C-Band); and from 2 to 2:30 ET on Telstar 6, transponder 4 (C-Band) Contact: Barry Cohn (312) 464-4579

Contacts:

Lisa Erk, Communications Director Troy Petenbrink
A Matter of Degree Fenton Communications
(312) 464-4532 (202) 822-5200

 

 

BINGE DRINKING A TOP CONCERN FOR PARENTS AS STUDENTS HEAD BACK TO COLLEGE

New American Medical Association Survey Finds Overwhelming Support for
Strong Measures to Reduce High-Risk Drinking – Releases Checklist to Help Parents Assess
their Child’s Risk

Chicago – Parents of college students have more worries than the cost of their child’s education: 95 percent believe excessive alcohol consumption is a serious threat to their children, and 85 percent say that the easy availability of alcohol in college communities contributes to too much drinking.

These national survey findings were released today by the A Matter of Degree (AMOD) program of the American Medical Association (AMA), with support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Through AMOD, 10 of the nation’s leading universities participate in a national pilot project to reduce binge drinking and its harmful effects on college communities. Rather than approaching binge drinking solely as an individual problem, AMOD uses powerful campus-community partnerships to counter factors that contribute to binge drinking, including cheap drink specials such as $1 pitchers and 2-for-1 shots, too many bars near campus, and illegal sales to underage students. Parents strongly favor such public policies to curb social influences that promote high-risk drinking, the study found.

Nationally, the number of students who frequently binge drink, meaning they binged three or more times in two weeks, is on the rise. Forty-four percent of college students binge, and nearly one in four do so frequently, placing themselves and others at risk for numerous alcohol-related harms, including sexual assault and other violence, traumatic injury, and death by alcohol overdose.1

“Parents recognize the role that easy access to inexpensive alcohol plays in this complex public health issue, and they want to see change,” said J. Edward Hill, MD, AMA chair-elect. “The majority no longer perceive college binge drinking as a rite of passage – they see it as a major public health threat.”

Key Survey Findings

Parents recognize that campus-community factors influence high-risk drinking:

  • 93 percent believe that easy access to abundant sources of alcohol is a major cause of excessive drinking
  • 80 percent said that cheap beer and shots and all-you-can-drink specials are important contributing factors to binge drinking
  • 79 percent identified beer and liquor company advertising and other promotions and sponsorships as an important contributing factor, while 76 percent said that football tailgate parties contribute to high-risk drinking
  • 81 percent said they feel more comfortable sending their child to a college that has strong policies or programs to deter underage and binge drinking


    Registered voters support a broad range of public policy solutions:

  • 92 percent support enhanced enforcement of laws prohibiting alcohol sales to underage persons
  • 80 percent favor restricting access to college bars to patrons aged 21 and older
  • 89 percent support increased penalties on retail establishments that serve underage or intoxicated customers, and 81 percent favor increased liability for such retailers
  • 78 percent support limiting the number and location of bars close to college campuses
  • 77 percent favor banning alcohol advertising in college sports, and 73 percent would bar drink special advertisements from college newspapers

A Matter of Degree also released a “Top 10” checklist of campus-community warning signs to help parents assess their child’s risk for alcohol-related problems. For example: Does the college have a clearly defined alcohol policy that is consistently enforced? Is the campus surrounded by bars? If so, do they promote drink specials that encourage excessive drinking? Visit www.stopcollegebingeing.com for the complete list.

The study of 801 U.S. residents, 21 years of age and older, was conducted by Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates of Washington, DC. Margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent at the 95th percentile confidence interval level

A Matter of Degree: The National Effort to
Reduce High-Risk Drinking on College Campuses

Creating Solutions by Changing Environments

A Matter of Degree (AMOD) is a national pilot project designed to test an innovative approach to reducing college binge drinking and its harmful effects, which also impact non-drinking or moderately drinking peers and fellow community residents.

A New Approach to an Old Problem

A Matter of Degree: The National Effort to Reduce High-Risk Drinking Among College Students (AMOD) is administered by the AMA Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, and funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The 10 campus-community partnerships of AMOD go beyond traditional prevention efforts that focus on the individual drinker, recognizing that the social environment also influences individual decision making. These “town-gown” collaborations – among college administrators, elected officials, students, parents, law enforcement, concerned bar owners and others – work together to address alcohol advertising and marketing, institutional policies and practices, local ordinances, and cultural beliefs and behaviors, factors that converge to encourage high-risk drinking.

University of Iowa and Iowa City -- Stepping Up Coalition members are currently working with a neighborhood association and marketplace association to prevent a landmark soda fountain from becoming a liquor store. The Iowa City Council recently enacted an ordinance giving the city more power to enforce state laws regarding sale to minors and intoxicated persons. The new law also prohibits some drink specials such as free alcohol, 2-for-1 and all-you-can-drink specials. As a coalition partner, the city council also strengthened ordinances to allow police to quiet loud house parties in the absence of a formal complaint. Campus administrators also eliminated a campus pub; created the first-ever alcohol-free tailgate party area; and a range of alcohol-free social alternatives for students, such as “Night Games” at the Field House. The university also turned down a $45,000 beer company offer to sponsor the weekly football and basketball coaches’ TV shows.

Contact: Julie Phye, Project Manager; (319) 335-1349/ julie-phye@uiowa.edu