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Alcohol awareness class numbers rise

Students seek dismissal of underage drinking citations

A new program offering students the chance to have their first underage drinking citation dismissed has seen an increase in participation.

“Within the first six weeks of school, numbers were already up by 45 people,” said University Police Chief Bob Roberts.

Offered through West Virginia University’s Carruth Center for Psychological and Psychiatric services, program informs students about alcohol and addiction, and the possible harms resulting from binge drinking.

“This isn’t a punitive program,” said John Spraggins, Student Assistance Program director at the Carruth Center. “We want people to understand addiction is a problem. No one wakes up and says, ‘I want to be an alcoholic.’”

The class is typically six sessions, and can be either one-on-one counseling or in groups of about three to five students. During the class, students could complete worksheets, watch videos or write papers.

“We do anything that we think might most effectively help that student,” Spraggins said. “We help them set goals and individualize it. Every student is different.”

The program stresses the fact, if a student is there, they were underage and drinking.

“They are breaking the law,” Spraggins said.

The program intends on helping students realize about 20 percent of the population has an alcohol problem affecting people between the ages 25 and 45 years old.

“Students think it’s just older people who have addictions, but it affects the younger generation,” Spraggins said.

Generally, students in the program are referred through courts or the Office of Student Judicial Affairs at WVU. Spraggins has been the director for 12 years and said there has been a very small percentage of repeat offenders in the class.

“No one thinks that down the road it could be a problem,” Spraggins said. “People just think it’s what they’re supposed to do in college, but some of the binge drinking behaviors can lead to addictions and can harm you in a pretty serious way.”

source: Daily Athenaeum

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