The statewide Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems, co-directed by the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Dr. Amelia Arria, recently launched a redesigned website, adding new resources that highlight the Collaborative’s projects.
“College Parents Matter” offers a set of tools and resources, including topics and common situations that increase the potential for high-risk drinking, such as the 21st birthday, spring break and roommate dynamics. For each area, the site provides a section that explains why the topic is important based on relevant science, followed by a series of suggested conversation starters in a table called “Say this ” and “Not this.”
In developing the “College Parents Matter” site, the Maryland Collaborative conducted focus groups with parents of college students. The parents in these focus groups all agreed that they did not need more information about the harms of drinking among college students. Instead, they needed to learn how to have meaningful conversations with their college-aged children about making smart decisions around alcohol.
A 2016 Guide to Best Practices is also included on the new Maryland Collaborative site. This guide, now in its second edition, synthesizes existing research on interventions. The guide describes the two major categories of strategies that seem to have the most promise. The first of these is providing intensive feedback and monitoring drinking patterns over time, which can help an individual to recognize the existence of a problem. The second, on a more macro-level, is to make environmental changes to reduce the availability of alcohol.
This Guide includes a detailed description of various strategies, a summary of the research, and tips for implementation. This resource is designed for college administrators and community stakeholders.
A third resource on the new site is a set of fact sheets having to do with social host ordinances that several communities in Maryland have adopted as a way to curb excessively loud and unruly parties. Under these laws, police can write a civil citation on the spot, similar to a speeding ticket, to the property owner, property manager, community management company, occupants and/or tenants hosting such events. Ordinances like these have been shown to reduce excessive drinking and associated problems.
Additional resources on the site include a generous set of links to webinars and presentations on topics related to addressing excessive college drinking.
Sixteen Maryland colleges and universities are partner members of the Maryland Collaborative.