Abusive college binge drinking has become a significant public health problem, as our society continues to change in new, dynamic and complex ways. Drinking while at college is like a rite of passage that students often view as an integral part of their higher education experience. Research shows that more than 80 percent of college students drink alcohol, and almost half report binge drinking at least once over a 2 week period.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports roughly 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries. More than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking, and another 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines binge drinking as drinking 5 or more alcoholic drinks on the same occasion on at least 1 day in the past 30 days, or drinking 4 to 5 drinks within a 2 hour time period. Not only are occasional binge drinkers at risk for health consequences, but even one instance of binge drinking can negatively impact physical health. Abuse of alcohol in young adulthood can draw students into a host of problems and aggravate existing ones.
Heavy drinking can lead to severe health problems such as alcohol poisoning, addiction, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases as well as neurological damage and sexual dysfunction. Alcohol abuse is the leading cause of unintentional injuries from car crashes to falls, burns and accidental drowning. Binge drinking and blackouts can also be strongly linked to instances of crime and rape on college campuses, as well as risky behavior leading to sexually transmitted diseases.
Hundreds of people die each year from acute alcohol intoxication also known as alcohol poisoning or alcohol overdose, and thousands more are admitted to emergency rooms for binge drinking. It’s important to talk with students to ensure they have the facts about binge drinking and alcohol poisoning in order to make effective decisions for themselves and others. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask for help today if you’re concerned you or someone you know may have binge drinking problem.