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Loyola among Maryland colleges leading collaborative effort to reduce excessive drinking

| By Nick Alexopulos

Loyola University Maryland has joined nine other colleges and universities in the state to form the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems, an initiative to create campus environments that support a safe and healthy college experience.

The collaborative is hosted jointly by the University System of Maryland and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. Together, the participating institutions will develop and raise awareness of evidence-based practices focused on individual students, parents, and the communities in which drinking among college students occurs.

“It is an honor for Loyola to work alongside other prestigious Maryland institutions on such a critically important initiative,” said Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J., president of Loyola. “We share a deep commitment to fostering a campus community that both ensures and promotes the health and safety of students, and I am confident the collaborative will reinforce those efforts and provide valuable guidance that will benefit every college and university in Maryland.”

On Oct. 29, the collaborative publicly released a report on college drinking in Maryland and a Guide to Best Practices for colleges and launched an interactive website to help colleges that want to implement evidence-based strategies to address problem drinking on their campuses. Fr. Linnane is one of 10 college presidents on the collaborative’s governance council.

In the big picture, the collaborative’s goals are to raise the profile of the problem of college drinking; provide public health expertise and support to measure and document the problem, implement effective interventions, change alcohol policies, and reduce alcohol problems; build synergy and provide peer and professional support to multiple campuses planning and implementing tailored interventions that best fit their individual environments; create a standard measurement system so that Maryland colleges have a common language for measuring progress towards their goals; and provide a platform for the development of resources and insights that can be useful across all campuses in the state, whether part of the formal collaborative or not.

Loyola has extensive experience using evidence-based practices to prevent and deter dangerous drinking and associated risky behavior. Led by Loyola’s Alcohol and Drug Education and Support Services (ADESS), licensed counselors provide outreach, education and counseling that empower students to make healthy and responsible choices regarding alcohol and drug use. Departments across the University complement the focused work of ADESS through initiatives such as alcohol-free social programming, academic rigor, and consistent policy enforcement, to name just a few. Loyola will offer insight gained from this experience as the University continues to contribute to the collaborative’s work.

Maryland’s Department Health and Mental Hygiene provided seed funding to establish the collaborative and its initial activities. The collaborative’s website and two new reports are available at www.marylandcollaborative.org.

The press release from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health is available here.

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