UI binge drinking rate continues to decrease - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

UI binge drinking rate continues to decrease


New data shows nearly six in ten students are binge drinking on the University of Iowa campus.

It's a significant improvement and the lowest that rate has been in close to 20 years.

When Whitney Duthie came to the UI as a freshman, she was well aware of the reputation

"I heard that we were the number two party school," she said.

After a year on campus, she says the party atmosphere is here, but it's been toned down a degree.

"I feel like people aren't going as crazy, drinking as much as they can, but there's still the people out there that do," Duthie said.

University of Iowa officials say the culture is finally beginning to change.

"We're seeing really important decreases in high risk drinking, the frequency of high risk drinking, the intensity of high risk drinking," said Kelly Bender, University of Iowa Community Harm Reduction Initiatives Coordinator. 

This summer's National College Health Assessment Survey shows a 17% improvement in the number of students that have recently participated in risky drinking since 2009.

Risky drinking is defined as five drinks or more in one sitting.

It also finds that students are reporting a significant drop in negative consequences as a result of drinking too much.

"Those numbers didn't start coming down until after we got serious as a community and started really comprehensively implementing some environmental changes," Bender said.

Members of the Partnership for Alcohol Safety, a group formed in 2009 to target the problem drinking, believe the recently enacted 21-ordinance in Iowa City has been big part of the improvement.

The Iowa City city council passed the measure in 2010, banning anyone under 21 from being in bars after 10 p.m.

"The 21-ordinance was a piece of reducing access to alcohol.  It allowed some of those other evidenced-based initiatives to work better," Bender said.

Evidence shows efforts are working, but still plenty of work remains in the effort to get the campus binge drinking rate under control. 


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