Binge Drinking Puts the Brain, and Life Itself, at Risk

More than 20 other colleges are planning to launch the program, she said.

How can parents help? For starters, don't share your own war stories of college drinking, Hwang urged. Parents can also discuss the legal problems associated with underage drinking and encourage their offspring to look out for their friends.

Also keep an ear out when visiting colleges, she added.

"When parents shop around for colleges, they really should be able to find out what kind of policies, practices [each has] to address the national problem of alcohol," Hwang said. And if college officials claim there is not problem? "I would say they are not being fully honest," she said.

More information

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has more information on binge drinking on college campuses.

SOURCES: Shirley Haberman, Ph.D., director, GatorWell Health Promotion Services, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.; Jenny Hwang, Ph.D., associate dean, students, and director, university counseling center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, N.Y.; April 22, 2009, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, online; Center for Science in the Public Interest, December 2008, Binge Drinking on College Campuses

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