Academy begins programs to curb student drinking

January 24, 2002|By Ariel Sabar | Ariel Sabar,SUN STAFF

Acknowledging that alcohol abuse accounts for a large share of the school's disciplinary problems, the Naval Academy announced two new programs yesterday to curb drinking among its 4,000 students.

One program will enlist the help of local bars and liquor stores to prevent underage and excessive drinking by midshipmen, while the other will collect statistics to dispel the perception that most students drink heavily.

"I've been here 3 1/2 years, and where we have had egregious conduct, it's been where someone drank too much and didn't use their judgment," Superintendent John R. Ryan said at an afternoon news conference.

In an average year, academy officials said yesterday, some 20 students are disciplined for alcohol offenses, most for underage drinking at out-of-town bars or off-campus parties.

"Unfortunately, despite strict regulations and enforcement, a number of our midshipmen suffer negative consequences resulting from inappropriate alcohol use," Lt. Jay Tolley, the academy's alcohol and drug education officer, wrote in an application seeking grants for the new programs.

The programs are being financed by a $15,000 grant from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, a national trade group, and a $5,000 grant from Corridor Wine & Spirits, a retailer in Laurel.

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