In September, five college students in four states died from binge drinking, leading some college officials to reexamine their drinking rules, USA Today reported Oct. 7.
Following the deaths, several college presidents announced a crackdown on underage drinking, while others have closed fraternity houses where the binge drinking deaths had occurred.
But some experts are unimpressed. "It's locking the barn door after the horse has been stolen," said Henry Wechsler, a Harvard University researcher who has studied campus drinking. "The schools that have the greatest problems take the easiest solutions. They have educational programs and re-motivation programs. But they don't try to change the system. These deaths are just the tip of the iceberg."
Wechsler said colleges need to become more actively involved with their surrounding communities. According to Wechsler, a number of towns located near college campuses promote drink specials at bars. Others have loose enforcement of liquor laws that make it easier and cheaper for students to get drunk.
Patty Spady of Beatrice, Neb., the mother of 19-year-old Samantha Spady, who was found dead in a Colorado State University fraternity after drinking up to 40 beers and shots of vodka, has formed the Sam Spady Foundation to find ways to prevent drinking deaths on campus.
"Drunks cannot take care of drunks," said Mrs. Spady. She urges students to "stay sober to take care of your friends."