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Cause and Effect of College Binge Drinking As young people enter the culture of the college campus, they are confronted with many challenges and opportunities: the opportunity to be independent of parental control; the need to conform; and the insecurity of a new social setting. While national surveys have documented a significant decline in the use of other drugs by high school seniors and college-age youths, there have been only modest declines in the numbers reporting binge drinking. Teenagers and young adults drink alcoholic beverages at about the same rates they did five years ago. Binge drinking increases the risk for alcohol-related injury, especially for young people, who often combine alcohol with other high risk activities, such as impaired driving. The four leading injury-related causes of death among youths under the age of 20 are motor vehicle crashes, homicides, suicides, and drowning. Alcohol is involved in many of these deaths.
Sexual encounters with their inherent risks of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV exposure, as well as date rape and other violence, can and do occur more frequently while students are consuming large amounts of alcohol by binge drinking. Binge drinking, or the partying lifestyle of young people, may be related to an environment that appears to support heavy drinking. Youths report that alcohol is more easily available to them today than it was five years ago, and there is a high correlation between availability and use. The national binge drinking rate among college students is 42. 7 percent, according to a Harvard study stated Diane Carroll (3 D). One of the more troubling statistics is that binge drinking seems to be more prevalent in high school students notes Linda Mei (51 - 53). Linda Mei also stated that If they were binge drinkers in high school, they were three times more likely to binge in college (51 - 53).
One of the impacts is the promotional advertising that is targeted to the college age audience which has been under much criticism of activists seeking to prevent underage drinking. One of the biggest clashes over alcohol advertising last year involved a "Back to School" catalog by college-oriented retailer Abercrombie & Fitch, which included a section entitled "Drinking 101 " that featured drinking games and recipes. Critics said the catalog encouraged binge drinking and underage drinking (since most college students are under the legal drinking age), and the company eventually pulled the offending sections from the catalog (1 - 5). Beer companies are especially active in promoting to college students. Student newspapers and campus bulletin boards boast ads for happy hours with price reductions and other incentives that promote heavy drinking.
Representatives of the alcohol industry, including producers, wholesalers, and retailers, sponsor campus social, sporting, and cultural events, even on campuses where the majority of participants are under the age of 21. The statistics gathered by Lorraine Hanna are hard to ignore. Overall, 44 percent of U. S. college students engaged in binge drinking. The extent of binge drinking varied widely among U.
S. colleges, from a low of 1 percent of students to a high of 70 percent. Drinking patterns established in high school often persist during college. Compared to other students, college students who were binge drinkers in high school were almost three times more likely to be binge drinkers in college.
Being white, involved in athletics, or a resident of a fraternity or sorority made it more likely that a student would be a binge drinker. Very few students even those who binge drank three or more times during the past two weeks said they had a problem with alcohol at the time of the survey. Of all the statistics gathered, suprisingly there really isnt a very big difference between the men and the women as noted by Jay Carpenter (Figure 1). Figure 1. Student Drinking Status by Gender Women binge drinkers report having four or more drinks in a row at least once during the last two weeks. Men binge drinkers report having five or more drinks in a row.
Frequent Binge Drinkers report binge drinking three or more times during the One would wonder what would college students give for their reasons to binge drink? That was the question posed on Dateline NBC. Suprisingly enough, the top 5 reasons in declining order were; drinking to get drunk (cited by 52 % of students), status associated with drinking, culture of alcohol consumption on campus, peer pressure, and finally academic stress. The effects of binge drinking range from general disorientation to violence. In a study done by David Phinney, the information gathered shows that binge drinkers had the most serious problems (figure 2). Figure 2.
Percentage of Binge Drinkers reporting alcohol-related problems since the beginning of the school year by gender Alcohol Related Problem Percent of Women Percent of Men Do something you later regretted 48 50 Forget where you were or what you did 38 41 Engage in unplanned sexual activity 26 33 Not used protection when you had sex 15 16 Get into trouble with the campus or local police 4 10 Require medical treatment for an alcohol overdose 1 Frequent binge drinkers had the most serious problems. For example, frequent binge drinkers were seven to 16 times more likely than non-binge drinkers to have missed class, gotten behind in their school work, engaged in unplanned sexual activity, not used protection when having sex, gotten in trouble with campus police, damaged property, or been hurt or injured. There was also a positive relationship between binge drinking and driving after drinking. Among frequent binge drinkers, 62 percent of the men and 49 percent of the women said they had driven a car after drinking. Approximately half these students said they had ridden with a driver who was high or drunk (12 - 17). In addition to this same study, the percentage of students who had experienced five or more different problems (out of a possible 12, excluding a hangover, but including driving after drinking) is shown in figure 3.
Nearly one-half of the frequent binge drinkers reported having had five or more problems since the beginning of the school year. Figure 3. Percentage of students experiencing five or more alcohol-related problems since the beginning of the school year by drinking status and gender. The previous table shows that not only does binge drinking have a negative effect on the students campus life, but neither does it seem to be a deterrent. Over 50 % of the male students surveyed who were frequent binge drinkers (3 or more times during the last two weeks) didnt seem to slow down because of the problems that they were having. Furthermore, contrary to what most people think, a students first year in school was not a significant predictor of binge drinking.
The percentage of students who were binge drinkers was nearly uniform from freshman through senior year, despite the fact that students were under the age of 21. With the ever increasing costs of higher education, one would think that students would be committed to gaining the best education possible; but a 1998 ABC News study leave little doubt that a students GPA can be directly influenced by the amount of alcohol consumed. Nearly 37, 000 students at 66 four-year colleges and universities were surveyed about their drinking habits, and it was revealed that students with an A average consume a little more than three drinks per week, B students have almost five drinks per week, C students average more than six drinks per week and students getting Ds or Fs consume an average of nine drinks per week. The statistics are alarming, yet most students still are not listening. Each decision we make will result in consequences. Some of these consequences may affect us for the rest of our lives.
One of the worst results from binge drinking is the death of one or more students. This is sometimes self inflicted by an alcohol overdose or possibly by a violent act. In either case, it could be avoided. We have seen many of the statistics that would drive colleges and universities around the country to try and change a part of our culture that seems over time to have accepted this type of drinking behavior among our students.
Many colleges and universities have begun to develop programs to target the problem of binge drinking by making changes in environment and culture that today encourage and tolerate irresponsible alcohol consumption. These campaigns seek to inspire fundamental changes in the campus drinking environment and in the students attitudes toward quality-of-life issues. One example of this type of program is the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), at Cornell University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). President Hunter Rawlings states, We aim to change a student culture that supports heavy and dangerous alcohol consumption.
We know the task is ambitious and that we cannot expect to achieve 100 percent success; but there is no better time than now to expand our current efforts, build on the progress we have made and test a model program for the nation (3 - 4). In addition, prevention strategies in response to binge drinking by young people include actions to reduce alcohol availability, such as increases in price, and responsible beverage service practices, especially at parties. Some communities require keg tagging, which requires kegs to be labeled with a serial number identifying the purchaser in case the keg is discovered at an underage drinking party. Other strategies include restrictions on marketing and promotion practices that glamorize heavy drinking, especially those directed at young people. With this broader framework in mind, school administrators may want to consider taking action on a number of policy fronts as noted by Linda Kobas.
Establish a policy of "zero tolerance" for alcohol-related violence, regulate the conditions of alcohol use on campus, work with the local community to limit student access to alcohol and to support the efforts of local law enforcement, eliminate sponsorship of events by the alcohol industry and other on-campus marketing, and finally, enforce the minimum drinking age law with firmness and consistency. While college administrators have long been concerned about student alcohol and other drug use, the driving force behind recent and continued prevention activity, has been the passage of the Drug-Free Schools and Campuses Act, codified as Part 86 of EDGAR. Failure to meet the Part 86 of EDGAR requirements can put a schools federal funding in jeopardy. In all, the impact of college students binge drinking, can cause many serious health and safety problems, including death. By monitoring our schools, enforcing laws, and continuing to develop prevention programs this will one day be a problem of the past. To quote Kathy Roger, This acknowledges that personal choices about the use of alcohol are made in the context of relationships with others.
Group norms, community traditions and cultural beliefs all influence our particular choices. Our decisions are shaped by a myriad of interpersonal and environmental influences. Alcohol is a community, as well as an individual concern. (q. in "Binge Drinking") Atkins, Jeremy. "Binge Plus School. " Scholastic Update June 17, 1993: 11 - 16. Carroll, Diane. "College Catastrophe. " Dayton Daily News May 7, 1998: 3 d- 4 d Carpenter, Jay. "Binge is Fun. " Newsweek July 14, 1992: 6 - 10 Dubow, Josh. "Colleges Target Binge Drinking. " ABC News Dec. 7, 1998: 10 - 19 Gilbert, Sean. "Binge!
Binge! Binge! . " Dateline NBC July 15, 1992 Hanna, Lorraine. "Party Hardy. " The Harvard Review (1997): 11 - 17 Jackson, Marcus. "My Experience with Binge Drinking. " Ohio State Review Joseph, Jennifer. "Drinking 101. " The Student Guide Dec. 2, 1997: 1 - 5 Kobas, Linda. "Media Project Targets Binge Drinking among College Students" Cornell Chronicle Feb. 12, 1998: 1 - 2 Mei, Linda. "Binge. " Newsweek Sep. 15, 1993: 53 - 7 Phinney, David. "Party Till the Break of Dawn. " USA Today April 11, 1992: 12 - 7 Rawlings, Hunter. "Binge Drinking: The Facts. " North Carolina Today April 15, 1994: 3 - 4 Roger, Kathy. "Binge Drinking. " People June 29, 1989: 14 9 Rubin, Sabrina. "Binge Drinking a Campus Killer. " Readers Digest Bibliography: it in thier
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