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Binge Drinking: The Most Serious Problem on College Campuses Today

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Binge drinking has an alarming impact on those enrolled in colleges across America. Most of us send our kids to college hoping to expand their minds, educations and most importantly, better prepare them for a future in this ever-changing world. It’s probably safe to say that parents in the United States are not sending their kids to college so they can increase their alcohol intake and abuse, and yet that’s precisely what’s happening. According to the “College Alcohol Study” performed by the Harvard School of Public Health which surveyed 119 different colleges nationwide, 44 percent of students enrolled in four-year colleges consume alcohol at the binge level or greater.

What is Binge Drinking?

While the statistic above is terrifying, it’s important to understand what exactly binge drinking is. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a blood alcohol “concentration (BAC) to 0.08 or above. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming five or more drinks (male), or four or more drinks (female), in about two hours.”

Why Do College Kids Binge Drink

This is a question that parents and college administrators have been inquiring about for decades. Harvard’s College Alcohol Study gave us the first general consensus directly from the student’s mouths. According to their study, the primary reasons college kids engaged in binge drinking are:

  • Drinking for the sole purpose of getting drunk (47 percent of students surveyed who consumed alcohol cited this reason)
  • Status associated with drinking
  • Culture of alcohol consumption on campus
  • Peer pressure and academic stress
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Impact of Binge Drinking in College

Binge drinking has a number of negative effects on the college student. It damages their academic aptitude and performance, their social relationships and of course their health. College students who engaged in binge drinking were an alarming 21 times more likely to experience the following problems than non-binge drinkers:

  • Missing class
  • Falling behind in their schoolwork
  • Having damaged property
  • Getting hurt or injured
  • Engaging in unplanned sexual activity
  • Not using protection when having sex
  • Getting in trouble with campus police
  • Driving a car after drinking

College presidents across the country agree that binge drinking is the number one concern they face on campus. According to the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, almost 20 percent of college students aged 18 to 24 meet the criteria or alcohol abuse or dependence. Of those surveyed, five percent of these students sought treatment for alcohol problems in the year prior to taking the survey and three percent thought they should seek treatment but ultimately did not.

Destination Hope is a full-service rehabilitation center for women with alcohol and drug problems in Florida. Binge drinking on college campuses is a serious problem and cannot continue to be swept under the rug under the guise of a “rite of passage” or “growing up” any longer. Every year, almost 600,000 students aged 18 to 24 are unintentionally injured while under the influence of alcohol. It’s our responsibility as parents to teach our children the dangers of alcohol abuse and get them treatment when they need it. If you or a loved one has developed a problem with alcohol, please call us today. The sooner you call the faster you’ll be able to move on with your life, alcohol-free.

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