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Duke Alcohol Campaign Slow to Effect Change

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DURHAM — Duke Universitybegan this school year with an aggressive alcohol-awareness campaign. Only one week after classes started, it appears a lot of the students did not get the message.

Over the weekend, three students on the Duke campus had to be treated for alcohol-related illnesses.

Duke admits it is not happy about those numbers. They launched a series of anti-binge-drinking initiatives following thealcohol-related death of student Raheem Bathlast November.

"We're disappointed, of course, that the three incidents occurred," says Jim Clack, Duke's interim vice president of student affairs.

Duke says it takes a while to reverse a culture that goes back decades, both in Durham and on campuses across the country.

"It wasn't our expectation that all the problems were going to go away immediately," Clack says.

Some Duke students doubt the school can do much to curtail binge drinking.

"Students are going to drink," says student Mickey Wilson. "It's hard to curb drinking among kids that are just right around the age of 21 and on their own."

"People aren't going to listen to authority figures trying to control it. It's got to be an individual decision on being responsible," says Emily Freilich, also a Duke student.

Duke is also encouraging students to be responsible for each other. A pamphlet is circulating on campus, explaining how to help someone who is ill from binge drinking.

"We know as faculty, as administrators, that we're not going to solve the problem without the assistance of the students. So the primary thing that we have to do is get the students on our side," Clack says.

Another part of the anti-binge drinking initiative is Friday evening's alcohol-free rock concert, featuring the band Far Too Jones.

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Len Besthoff, Reporter
Terry Cantrell, Photographer
Brian Shrader, Web Editor

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