Four out of five college students drink alcohol and about half of them binge drink. The term binge drinking is used to describe the act of drinking an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time with the intention of becoming intoxicated quickly. It overlaps with social and group drinking – the perfect set up.
Every year, drinking affects students, college campuses and families in a negative aspect. In college, students feel that because they are away from home, they can get away with more. While that may be true in some cases, it is not true in all of them. Alcohol is the most abused substance in the world, but students do not care when they are tossing back shot after shot in order to get a good buzz going.
With so many flavored alcoholic drinks, students tend to not even taste the liquor, which leads to overconsumption. Drinking too much, even without the intention of doing so, leads to many unpleasant consequences.
College students are classified between the ages of 18 to 24. Within the United States alone, 1,825 students die of alcohol-related unintentional injuries. This mostly includes alcohol poisoning, which requires a person to be rushed to the emergency room immediately. More statistics include:
- 690,000 college students are physically assaulted by another individual who has been drinking.
- 97,000 students are victims of booze-related sexual assault or date rape.
- 599,000 college partiers receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.
- 25% of students report academic consequences due to their drinking habits including missing class, falling behind and receiving lower grades overall.
- More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem, and between 1.2% and 1.5% of college students admit that they have attempted suicide while intoxicated.
It is disappointing for students to think that they have to drink to be socially accepted. Students from all around the United States take part in the binge drinking epidemic.
Three Stephens women, all 19-year-old sophomores, were approached about their drinking and party habits. The students drink anywhere from two to four nights a week.
When asked how much they consume within one night, the answers varied from “more than the average person,” to eight shots to three mixed drinks or five shots of any type of alcohol.
Although the girls may be under the legal drinking age, they still have their drinks of choice. One student said she enjoys whiskey or vodka straight. Another student said she loves tequila because it gets her drunk within a matter of minutes, and the final student drinks vodka for the same reason. The final student also added, “I don’t drink for pleasure. I drink to get drunk.”
This seems to be the consensus around the country. Five women from the University of Missouri, Loras College, Indiana University and the University of Illinois were also questioned about their drinking ventures. On average, the women drink two to three days of the week and enjoy drinking vodka. The student from Loras said she will drink the cheapest vodka she can get her hands on because, “it’s not expensive and it gets the job done.”
The amount they each consume varies. The students from Mizzou, a sophomore and junior, said they drink anywhere from one to 12 shots per night at fraternity houses. The freshman from Loras said that she drinks based on the occasion. The student from Indiana College, a 20-year-old junior, said that she has to drink 15 shots in one night “to really have a good time.” She also admitted that the shot count could be more because when she is at a frat party, she grabs handles of vodka and chugs them. The junior from the University of Illinois takes about seven shots per night.
College men were included in the 11 students interviewed as well. The three each attend different schools: DePaul University, University of Michigan and Costal Carolina University. With the men, it seems to be about the beer and whiskey. All three of the students are 19 years old. Two said they drink 3 days of week, while the other said he drinks six or seven days out of the week.
The student who attends DePaul University says he drinks anywhere between eight to 14 beers in one night. He stated that he likes beer because, “It doesn’t give me a terrible hangover.” As for the University of Michigan scholar, he also drinks beer, but eight is his maximum number. The student at Costal Carolina University does not drink beer, but instead takes six to eight shots of whiskey per night.
Underage students are not the only ones who go wild when it comes to binge drinking. People of the legal drinking age and over flock to the bars, especially on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Three 21-year-olds and one 22-year-old were also questioned about their drinking tendencies.
While both underage and students who are of legal age “pregame,” drinking large amounts of alcohol before going out, students who are 21 and over tend to participate in the activity more to curb spending too much money at the bars. “Pregaming” in combination with drinking at bars, may lead to overconsumption, blacking out and even drunk driving.
One Stephens student, two male Mizzou students and a female student at the University of Arizona revealed the same type of information that students under the age of 21 did. The two women said they go out to the bars around 4 nights a week, while the two Mizzou men go out about two to three nights out of the week.
The two women stated their drink of choice is “vodka anything.” However, they both said vodka and club soda would be their first choice. As for the men, one said he loves scotch and beer and the other only drinks beer.
Regarding their favorite bars, the student from the University of Arizona said that she and her friends all go to one specific bar and stay there all night. College towns generally have a number of hot spots, leading to bar-hopping and resulting in overconsumption.
For women, safety can become an issue. About seven months ago the 22-year-old University of Arizona sorority girl was talking with a man at the bar. He bought her a drink and as she turned away for less than thirty seconds to talk with her friend, the man was able to drug her. She was rushed to the emergency room and had to have her stomach pumped.
“It was the worst pain I’ve ever felt,” she said. “Never let anyone hand you a drink at a bar that you didn’t order or didn’t watch the bartender make.”
All 15 students said that the amount of alcohol they drink is consumed in less than two hours, give or take. This can lead to life or death situations, and knowing how to react when a friend has had one too many can save a life.
- Recognize that someone has had too much to drink. Be aware if the person has developed slurred speech, trouble standing, bloodshot eyes or said that they have a burning desire to lie down.
- Stop them from drinking anything else. Take the drink from their hands. They will thank you later.
- Take the friend home. Put the person on their side. Make sure they are not on their stomach or their back because if they begin to vomit, they can suffocate.
- Do not let the friend fall asleep alone. Watch a movie or read a book while keeping a close watch.
- Check on the intoxicated person. Call out their name and ask them to say something back. Also, check on their breathing. A rate of 12-20 breaths per minute is normal.
- Look for signs of alcohol poisoning. Symptoms include slow breathing, unconsciousness, blue lips and fingertips, vomiting while asleep and rapid pulse.
According to the Columbia Police Department, the average number of alcohol-related incidents per week is nine. However, a Columbia police officer said many incidents go unnoticed or are not reported. The majority of the problems take place behind the closed doors of fraternity houses.
College students drink and, most likely, nothing anyone tells them is going to make them stop. Don’t ever hesitate to call 911. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Story by junior Anne Robertson