Editorial: Culture change only way to end excessive-alcohol tragedies – Jacksonville Journal Courier

The adage that kids will be kids cannot be allowed to excuse away deadly games that are being played with alcohol on many college campuses.

We’re not harboring jejune ideas about drinking among students. Nationally, about 80 percent of college students drink. Unlike the “Animal House” perception glamorized in film, studies show 70 percent of students who drink are not binge drinkers, meaning they consume five or more drinks in one sitting.

Just as encouraging is a report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released last week. It says drinking — particularly binge drinking — is on the decline among high school students as well.

What is worrisome is that those who admit binge drinking point to a growing intensity in the level of dangerous alcohol consumption. It is not gender-specific, either, with more and more women admitting to excessive alcohol use.

On too many campuses, there is a disturbing laissez-faire attitude about — and in some cases, a condoning of — student drinking. It is not a rite of passage to engage in a practice that facilitates physical harm and gives rise to regrettable decisions such as unsafe sex or criminal acts such as driving under the influence and property damage.

School administrators need to take the lead, and have done so at a lot of schools. That watchful prevention can only go so far, though.

It takes individual and group responsibility, traits that fade quickly when fueled by alcohol.

Perhaps it could have saved the life of Tim Piazza, whose death at 19 in February followed a drunken fall at a Penn State University fraternity house.

The story emerging about what happened inside Beta Theta Pi fraternity that night — details being provided by prosecutors after a grand jury filed charges against

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