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Published March 23, 2010, 10:12 PM

Town Hall Meeting Addresses Binge Drinking On UND Campus

Tonight Prairie Public Radio hosted a town hall meeting at UND, which addressed binge drinking at the school.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

North Dakota is one of the highest nationally ranked states for people who admit to binge drinking. Tonight Prairie Public Radio hosted a town hall meeting at UND, which addressed binge drinking at the school. Tonight people heard from a UND faculty member and an addiction counselor. They also heard the stories of two UND students who struggled with alcohol and are now part of the school's "Been There Done That" group.

Addiction counselor Jim Murphy says he's busier than ever, as students have come to him for help with their drinking. He says drinking has changed over the years; one example is the popularity of shots. He says there is often more to people's drinking than just a desire to have fun.

"That's becoming more normal than abnormal, where alcohol is being used to medicate social awkwardness," said Addiction Counselor Jim Murphy.

Tonight two UND students shared their stories about alcohol. They told stories of getting arrested and hurting those closest to them. They described how their drinking got out of control and how it ended up making them miserable, not happy.

"I lost the trust and respect of all my close friends, my roommates, my girlfriend. They were scared of me," said UND Student Chris.

Student Bryan said, "These behaviors just kept getting worse and worse. Each night I kept blacking out."

UND faculty members say students often come to UND with a lot of experience drinking. They say although less than half of the students binge drink, there is a cavalier attitude associated with it.

"What is alarming to me is I see the increase in drinking that takes place at the high school level," said Dr. Robert Boyd, Vice President of Student & Outreach Services.

Panelists talked about what could be done to fix the problem. They mentioned having certain areas in which there would be no alcohol, and where people who had been drinking could not go. This would benefit both recovering alcoholics and those who do not wish to drink.

"Just getting together and talking with your peers and people who are going through the same thing as you would be very beneficial," said Bryan.

Addiction counselor Jim Murphy says for a student-or anyone-to quit drinking, it has to come within.