Alcohol, drug abuse legislation awaits signature

Alcohol, drug abuse legislation awaits signature

Legislation sponsored by two local Democratic solons requires colleges and universities to notify parents of students abusing alcohol or drugs. The measure, styled as House 4088 and Senate Bill 4108, was sponsored by state Rep. Phillip Pinion of Union City and state Sen. Roy Herron of Dresden. It was passed by the House on May 15 and the Senate on May 14. It has been sent to Gov. Phil Bredesen to sign it into law. With its passage, Tennessee becomes the first state to require all public institutions of higher learning to notify parents of students younger than 21 who break the law or a college rule by abusing alcohol or drugs. “This bill will help reduce the five deaths, 250 sexual attacks and the 2,000 assaults by drunken students,” Herron said. Pinion said Tennessee becomes the first state to require all its public colleges and universities “to protect students this way.” The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reported that in the United States more than 1,700 students a year die from alcohol-related injuries. That is an average of five students a day. The same study documented that 97,000 students a year — 266 each day — are victims of alcohol-related date rape or sexual assault. Another 700,000 — 1,918 each day — are assaulted by a binge-drinking student. “Almost five students dying each day from alcohol-related injuries is horrible,” Herron said. “More than 250 young women a day being raped or sexually assaulted by drunk students is unconscionable. Almost 2,000 assaults a day by drunk students is unacceptable.” Published in The Messenger 5.27.08

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