Campus Cocktails, Part III

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With over 10,000 students, Valdosta State University has many of the same issues as any other university in the nation, including alcohol abuse, but students here say it's not a problem that's growing out of control.

Victoria Whitfield, a VSU senior, says, "I would say VSU is a place where people during the week focus on their studies and on the weekend they go out to parties and stuff just to relieve stress. I haven't seen any incidents where it's been a problem, so basically people handle it very well, I think."

While some VSU Blazers don't see drinking as a real problem, some say it can get out of hand at times. Leaders with VSU's substance abuse task force say that's why plenty of work remains to be done.

Mark Williams, a VSU drug educator, says, "I think there is always room for improvement to address the issues that do exist. No one has an illusion in that regard. The primary issues we want to address are underage drinking, over consumption of alcohol and driving under the influence."

To help deal with the problems behind the alcohol use, VSU offers several counseling programs, and students who break the law with their alcohol use not only have to answer to legal authorities, but to school officials and even their parents.

Richard Lee with the VSU Dean's Office says, "Now we're trying to take a proactive approach and work with parents. If we see a problem with students and alert them to what's going on, that's beneficial we think."

Richard Lee says parents of college students are even more helpful nowadays when they learn their child has had a problem with alcohol use. Lee says parents help either with some kind of discipline or helping the student get the counseling they need.

And from what the numbers show, VSU's approach to alcohol use must be working, because everyone involved seems pleased with the results.