Study Finds All Massachusetts State Colleges Have Rules Restricting Alcohol Use But Enforcement Varies

Evaluation of a new alcohol policy for Massachusetts state colleges
    • November 28, 2005

From November 1999 through May 2002, researchers led by John R. Knight, MD, at the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Children's Hospital in Boston assessed the implementation and enforcement of new policies restricting alcohol use among students at Massachusetts state colleges.

The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's (RWJF) national Substance Abuse Policy Research Program (SAPRP).

Key Findings

  • About 55 percent of students at Massachusetts schools engaged in binge drinking, compared with about 48 percent of students at other schools across the country.
  • Rates of binge drinking varied significantly among colleges and universities in Massachusetts, however: from 36 to 71 percent for all ages and from 37 to 73 percent for students under age 21.
  • All schools adopted a "three strikes and you're out" policy regarding alcohol use among underage students.
  • There was great variation in the level of enforcement of new policies, however, and no student had been expelled from school for drinking at the time of the study.