Alcohol Abuse on Campus
Encouraging Healthier Drinking Habits
About Alcohol Abuse
Alcohol is the most popular substance of abuse among young Americans – more popular than illicit drugs or tobacco.
Four out of every five college students drink alcohol to some magnitude.
There are several factors that make student drinking dangerous, but the two most prevalent risk drinking activities are: underage drinking and binge drinking.
And, when an underage student begins to binge drink – the ramifications can be severe, and even deadly.
Key Focus Areas for Curbing Alcohol Abuse :
"Part of the problem is young people not understanding they are dealing with a toxic substance - alcohol can kill you. People do things they don't even know they did. And that can range from embarrassing to toxic."
In a recent study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 60 percent of teens, by age 18, have had at least 1 drink.
Underage drinking, as well with any type of alcohol abuse, is dangerous and can result in significant health issues in a student’s life on campus and throughout the rest of their life.
It poses significant risks to the following if a student below the age of 21 abuses alcohol:
- Injury or Death - under the age of 21, 188,000 individuals are injured per year and 4,358 individuals die per year from alcohol-related incidents.
- Impairment of Judgement – drinking alcohol can lead to students participating in drinking and driving, violent behavior, and sexual assault.
- Alcoholism and Drug Use – students who abuse alcohol now can lay a foundation for prolonged alcoholism and experimental drug use.
- Brain Development – most students’ brains are developing well into their twenties; alcohol use can slow or hinder development and lead to life-long cognitive issues.
Speaking with campus staff about underage drinking on your campus and how to address it is the first step – it’s been helpful for some universities to invite students across campus to weigh in on the issue of underage drinking and how to confront it.
Whatever method chosen to alleviate rates of underage drinking on your campus, remember that campuses have the ability to guide students down the correct path and should have resources available to help students who suffer from the effects of underage drinking.
An activity that has made its name known nation-wide on campuses is binge drinking, or high-risk drinking, which is a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL.
In a student’s mind, it may be seen as a way to fit in or to “be cool,” but it can lead to very frightening consequences.
Here are 5 quick and helpful facts about alcohol abuse to keep in mind while assessing binge drinking on your campus:
- 60% of college students drank alcohol in the past month and 66% of those admit to binge drinking.
- 696,000 students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking each year.
- 97,000 students reported experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault each year.
- 25% of students report academic consequences from drinking each year.
As the statistics show, binge drinking is a wide spread health problem on college campuses and it can affect more than just the student partaking in the alcohol use.
Administrators should speak with appropriate campus staff to understand the drinking culture on your campus and what actions you can take to reduce the rates of binge drinking.
It’s time to look at ideas to reduce the rate of binge drinking on your campus and to promote safe, responsible drinking to students, so if they do decide to partake in alcohol use, they can make smart decisions.
10 Essential Guidelines to Promote Responsible Drinking
- Carry out training or awareness programs for students on alcohol and its detrimental effects.
- Promote responsible, safe drinking to students throughout campus knowledge centers or through campus social media.
- Host alcohol-free events on campus that are appealing to students.
- Consistently enforce federal and state alcohol laws on campus.
- Implement a Medical Amnesty policy on your campus.
- Provide students with resources and treatment programs to help those who are struggling with alcohol abuse.
- Review and update campus policies, including disciplinary sanctions, regarding alcohol use.
- Provide a safe ride-service for students on campus.
- Limit the ability to purchase alcohol on campus-owned property.
- Include students in campus discussions to deter alcohol abuse – specifically binge-drinking, they often know more about the issue than administrators.
How SafeColleges Can Help
The SafeColleges Training System includes a variety of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention courses for students, such as Alcohol and Other Drugs, Alcohol and Other Drugs - Sanctions, and Alcohol and Other Drugs (Refresher). These courses educate students on the realities and misconceptions of alcohol and drug use as well as successful strategies for handling dangerous situations related to these substances. Each provides extensive, research-backed evidence of the detrimental effects alcohol and other drugs can have, and how social skills and interactions can help reduce harm associated with these substances.
The SafeColleges Online Tip Reporting System can be used to prevent and investigate sexual assault, hazing, discrimination, threats of violence and more on your campus. Alert lets students, faculty and staff anonymously report tips to your administration 24/7 from any web-enabled device. Users can submit tips through the phone, text, email and website. A SafeColleges Alert Mobile App will be available soon for students, faculty, and staff