In the coming weeks, millions of parents will watch their children head off to college for the start of the fall semester. In all, approximately 22 million young adults are currently enrolled in college in the US. Unfortunately, according to the NIH (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) around 1800 of these young adults will die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries this year.
The NIH has compiled some rather startling statistics about the issues caused by college students drinking. Much of the problem can be attributed to the practice of “binge drinking,” which the NIH defines as “ a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to .08%. Binge drinking impairs judgment and can lead to some very negative consequences, such as sexual assault, automobile accidents and even death. The numbers are alarming:
- 40% of college students admit to “binge drinking.” That’s over 8 million students
- 690,000 students have been assaulted by other students who have been drinking
- 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape
- 599,000 students received unintentional injuries while drinking alcohol
- 25% of students report academic consequences from drinking, including missing class, falling behind and doing poorly on exams
- Rates of suicide, health problems and legal problems are significantly higher among the students who admit to “binge drinking.”
What can be done to reduce percentage of students “binge drinking” and minimize the negative repercussions of their actions? The NIH has some very practical suggestions for the individual student and for the institutions:
Campus programs aimed at individual students
- Education students on the risks of drinking
- Explain how these risks interfere with meeting their goals
- Explain how to monitor and reduce drinking
- Explain how to handle high risk situations
Strategies for institutions and surrounding community
- Provide alcohol-free campus activities
- Notify parents of alcohol- related infractions
- Adjust academic schedules to include more Friday classes and reduce the number of long weekends during the semester
- Zero-tolerance laws for underage drinking
Parents of college-age students should understand what their child’s institution is doing to eliminate binge drinking and provide a safe environment for their students. If we all work to educate our children and ensure that all academic institutions have prioritized this issue, we may eliminate 1800 senseless deaths annually.
We here at TRU have college age children and feel strongly about this issue. In addition to the suggestions above, we strongly suggest that all college students who choose to drink get a quality breathalyzer and use it to monitor their alcohol intake and make smarter decisions. For more information, please visit www.trubreez.com. Be safe!