AMA's latest push targets college drinkers

CHICAGO: The American Medical Association (AMA) is using the

back-to-school season to highlight its "A Matter of Degree" pilot

project to draw attention to college binge-drinking.

On August 29, the AMA held a satellite feed to release the results of

its first nationwide binge-drinking survey. It also released a "Top 10"

checklist of warning signs to help parents assess their child's risk for

alcohol-related problems. Good Morning America, AP, CNN, Newsday, and

ABC Radio picked up the poll.

DC-based Fenton Communications is working with the AMA, helping perform

media outreach and develop a message.

Funding for the campaign comes from the Robert Wood Johnson


The budget for the polling initiative and the "A Matter of Degree"

campaign is $1.75 million.

The next step is a fall policy briefing that will be held at the

National Press Club in October.

Each university is developing its own plan, which the AMA will then help

implement. Initiatives so far include keg registration laws, off-campus

living brochures, alcohol-free tailgate party areas, substance-free

housing, and a Greek alcohol summit to persuade fraternities and

sororities to discourage underage drinking.

"Problems for underage drinkers differ from school to school," said Lisa

Erk, communications director for the project, "so our attitude is to

allow these schools to create the best system for their environment."

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