By Inggrid Yonata
ROCKFORD - During the National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, colleges across the nation try to combat students getting drunk. Rockford College joins the effort with a new cyber approach.
Experts say the first step to fix any problem is to know that you have one. So a Rockford College health counselor plans to launch an online test for students to find out if they need help.
"I stay away from house parties," said Hannah Stravers, a Rockford College senior. "At house parties the only point is to get drunk." That's how Hannah Stravers avoids the slippery slope of binge drinking. For Tony Hardin, 21, it's experience. "I saw a lot of my friends get alcohol poisoning. It seems like they can't have fun without it."
A study shows 159,000 of today's college freshmen will drop out of school next year for alcohol or other drug-related reasons. Rockford College Health Counselor David Marx wants to adopt the Alcohol Screening Test, developed by the World Health Organization, to keep the number low on his campus. "For them to be able to take the test and get the assessment just seconds later, it's a big deal I think."
For once, getting a high score in this test is not a good thing. It means the student is more likely to abuse alcohol. The survey will be on the college website starting next month.
While it's not a scientific diagnosis, it warns students not to quit drinking cold turkey. Marx said it can cause "very severe withdrawal symptom" like hallucination or even death.
That's why students like Hannah Stravers and Tony Hardin try to live above the influence. "I'm an athlete, I respect my body," Hardin said.
In addition to the survey, Rockford College will hold workshops and activities this week to raise awareness on the dangers of drinking too much, too fast.
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