A new report has found that about 19 percent of underage and 22 percent of college students ages 21 to 24 in Maryland show signs of alcohol abuse or dependency.

The report was done by a collaborative of Maryland's higher education institutions that have joined forces to address excessive drinking in college.

The University System of Maryland and the Bloomberg School of Public Health at the Johns Hopkins University have formed a coalition of 10 college presidents from across the state to establish the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Practices.

The group will be co-chaired by Chancellor William “Brit” Kirwan of the University System of Maryland and President Ronald J. Daniels of Johns Hopkins.

“Like universities across the country, we are aware of the significant problems that underage and excessive drinking can cause for our students, our campuses, and our communities,”

Kirwan said in a release announcing the collaborative. “In Maryland, we are strongly committed to addressing these problems responsibly and effectively.”

According to a new report issued by the group, Maryland college students drink at levels similar to the national average, but its highest risk drinkers drink more than their peers and are less likely to seek help. The report also found that nearly one-third of Maryland college students drove under the influence of alcohol and drugs.

The coalition said Maryland colleges will be encouraged to develop “multi-level” interventions at colleges where campus drinking occurs.

Officials said that while most Maryland schools offer alcohol programs and basic training, the collaborative recommends going the extra step to help change students’ behavior and “modifying the settings that influence students’ drinking decisions.”

“We’re proud to participate with other university leaders to share best practices,” said Daniels, “and to work together to improve conditions for our students so we can ensure a safer and healthier future for them.”

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