Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

August 1, 2011

Many are working hard to encourage responsible drinking

— As the new academic year approaches for Frostburg State University, Allegany College of Maryland, Garrett College, Potomac State College and our local school districts, I want to express my profound gratitude for the support provided by all local law enforcement agencies and the Allegany County Liquor Control Board for their support and assistance to curb high-risk drinking.

In fact, the steadfast support of this local community is what has brought Frostburg State University national attention as one of the very few universities in the nation that has been able to reduce its binge-drinking rate so dramatically.

Nationally, binge drinking and the subsequent harm associated with this behavior have become a national epidemic, taking the lives of close to 1,800 college students a year. Beyond this, the costs associated with property damage, assaults, etc., are extremely high in all communities. Strong education, coupled with consistent enforcement, is what has, in part, led to our success.

Overall, local bars and distributorships have been very supportive of our efforts. However, in our small community, the sale of alcohol is their livelihood, and the desire to sell alcohol is very well understood.

As we approach this school year, I implore all to be steadfast about carefully checking IDs and not serving anyone who is underage.

 I also put out a challenge to reduce drink specials like “Ladies Night” and “Dime Drafts,” which are so common in our community.

I ask that you all recognize that when some students enter your establishment, they may have already been drinking elsewhere, such as in an off-campus residence.

Finally, I offer a challenge: What if every bar in Frostburg picked one night during a semester that you all agree will be alcohol free?

Would one night each semester negatively affect business? You won’t know unless you try. I simply ask that you consider it.

My thanks again to all who have worked hard to educate young people on responsible drinking and have worked to help them remain active and positively engaged members of our community.

 Jonathan Gibralter, president

Frostburg State University

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