Dampening Student Drinking

Any promising young life lost to alcohol abuse is one too many. That realization lies behind a Boston-area campaign to reduce underage drinking by college students.

The death of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology freshman last year after a night of drinking in a fraternity house spurred the campaign.

Two dozen colleges and universities in Boston and its suburbs have signed a 50-point pact that includes alcohol-free housing for freshmen, a ban on drinking at fraternity or sorority rush parties, and efforts to control alcoholic beverages at pre-game tailgate gatherings.

Alcohol consumption on or around campuses has been a national problem for years. Some states - such as Ohio, Montana, and Washington - have attempted to curb drinking through policies akin to the Boston pact. But the incidence of binge drinking among students, with the intent to get drunk, has continued to rise.

Those who study the problem, as well as college administrators trying to address it, agree that, fundamentally, the solution is a change in thinking on campus. If drinking is equated with fun and escape from academic pressures, it'll continue to be popular - and all too often deadly.

Communities dedicated to the application of intelligence to human problems and endeavors should lead the way in rejecting the foolish, self-destructive use of alcohol. The Boston pact should be widely watched.

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