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HARD LESSONS ON CAMPUS

Emphasize prevention rather than response

June 13, 2010

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IN YOUR front-page article last Sunday, Tufts president Lawrence Bacow noted that 16 students of the university were hospitalized for excessive drinking within the first month of the school year. As an outpatient therapist who has worked with at-risk youth for 15 years, I would recommend an approach that emphasizes prevention rather than response. What if universities and colleges offered freshmen a mandatory class on alcohol education and stress management? Many students, particularly freshmen, lack coping skills and resort to overconsumption of alcohol and drugs during stressful times to alleviate depression and anxiety.

However, binge drinking on campus represents a larger societal problem. In 2008, 596,000 children were diagnosed with mental disorders, a 150 percent increase from 2000. As of 2005, there were about two dozen antidepressants on the market, and 189 million prescriptions were filled.

I believe solutions can be found in increasing awareness and prevention through education and expansion of college counseling centers.

Amy E. Stein
Shrewsbury

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