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'As long as it doesn't spill over into class': harms arising from students` alcohol use, and the role of policy in reducing them
journal contributionposted on 2003-02-01, 00:00 authored by P Snow, S Wallace, Petra StaigerPetra Staiger, B Stolz-Grobusch
While there is considerable evidence about the prevalence of student alcohol use, little empirical work has examined the range and level of exposure to alcohol-related risks facing student populations, and the views of key stakeholders about these. This study was conducted at a large multi-campus university in order to gauge the scale and severity of students’ alcohol-related problems, and ways in which these may be mitigated. Student perspectives on campus based policy making with respect to alcohol were also canvassed. This study utilised a range of evaluative instruments, including standardised questionnaire protocols, structured interviews and focus groups. Data gained from students showed a large level of exposure to alcohol-related harm, and staff informants reported student harms such as drink-driving, interpersonal aggression, social nuisance, inadequate security, sexually risky behaviour, and physical malaise. As a group, students seem receptive to campus-based policies that have a harm reduction focus, but are less supportive of institutionalised measures aimed at the student body. Given the divergence of views about the harms arising from student drinking, and a general repudiation of institutional policy measures which may lessen these, the development of harm-reducing policy on alcohol remains challenging.