Alcohol abuse on college and university campuses nationwide constitutes a serious problem which may lead to tragic consequences. A recent study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that alcohol abuse annually plays a role in approximately 1,400 deaths, 500,000 injuries, 600,000 assaults and 70,000 cases of sexual assault and acquaintance rape on college campuses across America.

Given the overreaching negative societal impact such abuse leads to, and its ultimate detrimental affect on peoples lives, the first-ever Governors Summit on Alcohol Use in Higher Education will be held Monday, April 7, at West Virginia Universitys Mountainlair student union in Morgantown.

Attendees will discuss all relevant issues, problems and solutions concerning alcohol and substance abuse on college campuses. Those expected to attend include state Education and the Arts Secretary Kay Goodwin, Tax&Revenue Secretary Brian Kastick, Alcohol Beverage and Control Administration Commissioner Tom Keeley, Governors Highway Safety Program Director Bob Tipton, many of West Virginias college and university presidents, and various other community leaders and members.

“There are some 85,000 college students in this state, some of whom engage in high-risk drinking,”explained Gov. Bob Wise.”The goal of this conference will be to improve student life, safety and education on our campuses and in our respective college towns through grass-roots, community-based initiatives.”

Bill DeJong, director of the U.S. Department of Educations HigherEducationCenter on Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention, will discuss in detail the ramifications of the recently issued NIAAA report. The Higher Education Center offers specialized training, technical assistance, publications and other information to assist those who desire to actively participate in improving the environment in which students make decisions about alcohol and other drug use.

“Alcohol abuse is arguably one of the biggest problems facing college administrators today,”said WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr.”WVU welcomes this summit on underage and high-risk drinking and looks forward to developing initiatives to assist in solving the problem.”

Luncheon speaker Adam Chafetz, president of Health Communication Inc., will discuss the various aspects and composition of campus and community partnerships.

Additionally, workshop sessions are planned to share best practices and ideas among law enforcement officers, health educators and counselors, students, community members, school administrators, faculty and others.

Following the sessions, DeJong will summarize, critique and offer input regarding the workshop sessionsdiscussion product and will chart a plan of action for the state. ABCA Education and Prevention Supervisor Gig Robinson will subsequently outline resources available to help colleges and universities carry out the plan.

The daylong conference will include a signing ceremony and a proclamation of commitment by higher education officials to alcohol and substance abuse prevention.

The summit is sponsored by the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration and the Governors Highway Safety Program in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Educations Higher Education Center on Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention and WVU . Supporting organizations include The Network Addressing Collegiate Alcohol and Other Drug Issues, West Virginia Division of Health and Human Resources, West VirginiaPreventionResourceCenter and Health Communication Inc.

Continuing education units are available for participants.