by Victoria Bailey
STARKVILLE, Miss.(WCBI)—New faces, places and new experiences. Going off to college can be an exciting time.
But According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism the first six weeks of a freshman’s year is a vulnerable time for heavy drinking.
For many students there are certain aspects of college life that make trying something new a little easy; like limited interaction with parents and other adults, a lot of free time and easy access to alcohol.
Underage drinking is not a new problem for college towns. Mississippi State University Chief of Police Vance Rice says getting a handle the problem is getting harder.
” Obviously it’s a real challenge for us cause our age group is eighteen to twenty four years old for majority of the students and the difference between a twenty year old and a twenty two year old is very difficult to judge with out asking for I.D.,”MSU Chief of Police Vance Rice said.
Big events on campus like football games and concerts may entice students to drink and it often leads to risky behavior, and sometimes a visit to the ER.
Last year the OCH Regional Medical Emergency Room treated One Hundred and twenty six patients with Alcohol-related complaints.
Eighty Eight of Them were during the peak of football season. October thru December. So far *this* year, only a few weeks into football, they have had forty seven alcohol related visits.
Then there are the legal consequences of underage drinking.
“If they are intoxicated to a level of being a danger we are going to take them into custody and they are going to go to jail. If their an underage person in possession and they aren’t intoxicated usually they will receive a citation,”Rice said.
And for those who want help, the university’s Student Recovery Center steps in.
“It can cause problems for the university as a whole. For the community of Starkville as a whole and so when each student makes healthy choices then our campus is better, our community is better. I think it’s important for us to provide the knowledge and the concluding and support students because their here, a lot of them, for the first time without the support that they’ve had from family and friends,”Student Recovery Center Councilor Ashley Fondren said.
The third week of October is National Alcohol Awareness Week where the university will host activities for each day.