WOLFVILLE, N.S. - A Nova Scotia university that saw one of its students die last year after a night of drinking has vowed to make changes to its alcohol policy following a report from the province's top doctor.
Acadia University in Wolfville will work with public health and emergency health services to learn how to respond to issues related to high-risk drinking behaviour, according to a university alcohol strategy released Thursday.
The strategy said the school will also create a group specifically trained to reach out to high-risk students, and will work with staff and students to change their attitudes about binge drinking.
The university's commitments are in response to a report on alcohol risks among university students that was also released Thursday by Robert Strang, the province's chief public health officer.
The report comes nearly a year after a 19-year-old Alberta man died following a night of drinking in his residence at Acadia.
University president Ray Ivany said the provincial report will help steer the school in the right direction when looking at its alcohol policy.
"My colleagues across North America recognize the importance of changing the culture of high-risk alcohol consumption among young people for both their immediate safety and their long-term health," Ivany said in a news release.
"The report from (Strang) told us that while we were already headed in the right direction, we can go further by adopting best practices employed by others and engage more members of our campus community in our efforts."
Health Minister David Wilson said binge drinking is happening on universities across the continent and isn't unique to Nova Scotia. He said awareness about its dangers is key to changing behaviour.
"We were all young once and we all recognize that being young, people are active and try things that probably they shouldn't," Wilson said Thursday.
"We need to be sure that we remind them, educate them and show that there are consequences to binge drinking."
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