A typical college student’s weekend consists of Friday night beer pong, Saturday night tequila shots, and all-day Sunday hangovers. Consuming alcohol in college is a rite of passage.
A typical college student’s weekend consists of Friday night beer pong, Saturday night tequila shots, and all-day Sunday hangovers. Consuming alcohol in college is a rite of passage. It has become about as common as writing a term paper or taking an exam. Whether students drink or not, they will incessantly find themselves surrounded by alcohol.
College is the place for teens to find themselves. It is the place to develop freedom and it is the place to “party it up.” However, young drinkers have been known to cause problems. Drinking can lead to poor grades, is related to vandalism and sex crimes, and less seriously, drinkers are known to be a bit rowdy. While not all drinkers disturb the peace, many put themselves in harm’s way. So is this acceptable behavior, or do people need to change their drinking habits?
While consuming alcohol is not necessarily a bad thing, many habits related to drinking are. One example of this is binge drinking. According to USA Today, 44 percent of college students binge drink. So what exactly does that mean? Well, the definition of binge drinking is four consecutive drinks for females and five for males at least once in a two-week period. With that said, many of you reading this probably binge drank this weekend–survey says two out of every five students do so.
Students ditch classes due to hangovers and do poorly on tests because they are too busy living it up to study. They experience blackouts, which are periods of time where they experience memory loss-putting students at risk for rape and drunk driving. The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that more than 40 percent of all academic problems are related to alcohol. So why do we do this to ourselves? Are we so stressed out with school that this is our only way to unwind, or are we just looking to have some fun?
Alcohol-related incidents are becoming more prevalent among college campuses. Take for instance the Rider University student who died from alcohol poisoning a couple weeks ago. The Daily Princeton says that he downed three-quarters of a bottle of vodka within 15 minutes. What started as a typical night of college partying resulted in the death of an 18-year-old freshman. Sadly, this type of incident is not uncommon. The NIAAA reported that 1,400 college students die annually from alcohol-related incidents, and 1,100 of these involve drinking and driving. These incidents are preventable; we need to fix this.
When a student starts vomiting, most assume that he is just “drunk” and cleansing his system. However, many times this is a sign of alcohol poisoning. Most students are unaware of the dangers involved with drinking. While many are responsible adults, others don’t know their limits. How many friends do you know with DUIIs? Even worse, many of them are underage. Most students are unable to differentiate between social and binge drinking. In fact, the Harvard School of Public Education stated that 23 percent of all students are frequent binge drinkers.
Obtaining alcohol is a large part of the problem. It is much too easy. Parties and Greek houses typically have free booze, bars have happy hours, and fake IDs allow for easy purchases. Many students have consumed little to no alcoholic beverages prior to college, and the easy access to it brings instant harm. They don’t know the answers to “How much is too much?” and “What are the signs of alcohol poisoning?” Instead, they follow the crowd and down as many shots as they can to “keep up” with everyone else.
So what solves this problem? Several universities across the United States have implemented “dry campuses,” where alcohol is completely prohibited on school grounds. Does this really help though? Ideally, yes. But, although students may not drink on campus, they will find other ways to consume alcohol. Many will go into town to a bar or party to get drunk, and will then drive home, increasing their likelihood of getting a DUII. At least partying on campus decreases the risk for drunk driving, but many administrators do not see it that way.
Another option that seems to work is a mandatory alcohol awareness class for incoming freshmen. While it may sound lame, most 18-year-olds are too immature to understand the negative effects of alcohol. Maybe implementing this type of program will help decrease alcohol-related incidents and binge drinking. Whatever the cure, students need to be educated on the risks of alcohol. Learn the signs of alcohol poisoning, prevent future blackouts, and keep your drunken friend’s keys.