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A study by Harvard researchers of alcohol policies adopted in Massachusetts after the highly publicized deaths of two students in 1997 show that they do cut down on college drinking rates, but only if they are strictly enforced by the schools.

Co-author of the study, John R. Knight, said there was a strong correlation between lower drinking rates and close enforcement of the policy. Knight is the director of the Center for Adolescent Substance Abuse Research at Childrenís Hospital of Boston and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.

Knight said drinking rates at the 11 colleges surveyed in the study varied between 36 and 71 percent. The researchers reported a decrease in heavy drinking rates at colleges where the policy was strictly enforced. The policy limited alcohol on campuses to specific locations, required advanced registration of all events involving alcohol and created new penalties for violations.

Knight told the Harvard Crimson that there is no single solution to the prevalence of alcohol on college campuses. "There isnít a simple solution. Iím a medical doctor. Iím against death and all the health problems associated with alcohol," he said. "You need a multi-faceted approach to combat this problem. Strict enforcement, however, might be needed to control the heaviest drinkers."

Two students ó- Scott Krueger of MIT and Adam Prentice of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst -ó died of alcohol-related incidents within two days of each other in September 1997, causing the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education to adopt the new alcohol policy.

More: College Drinking Prevention Not Working? | College Drinking Issues

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