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UW-Madison students to cough up big bucks for underage drinking

Janelle Vreeland

UW-Madison's Bascom Hall

Students will have to pay for citation and substance-abuse counseling

University of Wisconsin-Madison students will be faced with hefty fines if they are found drinking while underage.

The Wisconsin State Journal reports that, beginning this semester, university officials are imposing a fine and substance-abuse counseling for underage drinking or alcohol violations. That is, substance-abuse counseling that the student will have to pay for out of pocket.

Typically, an underage drinking citation courtesy of the Madison Police Department costs $263.50. Add to that the cost of two group sessions ($78) or two one-on-one sessions ($200) of substance-abuse counseling, and the student in question is left with considerably less money in his pocket.

The program is called BASICS (Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students). Tom Sieger, prevention director at University Health Services, calls the program an “educational intervention.” He estimates about 800 to 1,000 students will participate in the program per year.

You can read more about the program and policy here.

What do you think? Will the fines coupled with the cost of substance-abuse counseling be enough to deter students from future violations? Or will making students pay for their own substance-abuse counseling just add insult to injury? Share your thoughts with us below!

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