Alcohol and College Students
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Politics and Activism

Alcohol and College Students

A scientific and statistical look on college students who drink.

Alcohol and College Students
Daily Bruin

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 60% of college students drink while underage. Even more surprisingly, 2 out of 3 college students admit to binge drinking between the ages of 18 and 21, making underage drinking while in college a new epidemic. Drinking in college can become a domino effect that can possibly lead to the fall of grades and medical issues. Alcohol awareness month has been held each April since 1987, but society does not need a month to be shown that alcohol can ruin lives.

About 1 in 4 college students report the academic consequences of drinking, including missing class, falling behind in class, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall. This is all caused by excessive drinking and partying. When students see an overall drop in their academic performance like this, it is normally due to Alcohol Use Disorder. Alcohol Use Disorder or AUD is basically alcoholism. This is when alcohol is consumed regularly to the point that a person cannot function regularly in their everyday life. Surprisingly, 20% of college students are diagnosed with AUD each year. Alcoholism is a serious thing and can ruin people’s lives. College students who become alcohol dependent may drop out of school, but alcoholism can do much worse. Severe alcoholism can lead to liver failure, kidney failure, and other serious illnesses. Some colleges are trying to prevent alcoholism head on to prevent more students from becoming alcohol dependent.

According to a study conducted by Harvard University, 81% of college campuses in America are considered ‘dry’. A dry college does not allow alcoholic beverages on campus or in campus-owned dorm rooms. This policy is enforced regardless of age. If a 21-year-old college student is caught with alcohol in their dorm room or in their vehicle, the college is allowed to punish the student for violating university policy. Dry campuses have such strict policies to help persuade young adults from doing the wrong thing and being involved in a bad situation that involves alcohol.

When students violate dry campus policies, campus security officers see that most of the people being caught drinking alcohol illegally are college freshmen. College freshmen are more likely to die from alcohol poisoning than any other age group enrolled in both public and private universities. Researchers believe that college freshmen are just so excited to be away from home that they don’t know what their limit is or when to stop. Freshmen will continue to drink until they are sick, dead or become dependent on alcohol. Friends of someone who is alcohol dependent are not very likely to seek help because they are afraid of having repercussions for being involved with someone who uses alcohol. College campus, even dry-campuses, wants to change that.

Both wet and dry campuses want students to seek help if they feel that they are dependent on alcohol. Medical amnesty laws are becoming something that students are getting involved in more frequently. A student can seek help for him/herself or a friend and they will not be punished. Friends are able to reach out to university staff if they feel that a friend has become too dependent on alcohol or even drugs. A university cannot suspend, expel or fine a student for seeking medical amnesty. Students feel much safer now that there is an outlet on most campuses for them to go to when they feel too dependent on alcohol. This outlet can save lives of many college students.

1,825 colleges students die each year from alcohol-related injuries, to include drunk driving or driving while intoxicated. Campuses are trying to change this road and let students know that it’s okay to call an Uber or crash on a friends couch. A campus would much rather a student is 19 and drunk than 19 and dead from drunk driving or alcohol poisoning. No matter what, there are always outlets to turn to when a friend is suffering from alcohol dependency or just temporary drunkenness. A good friend might not always say no to a drink and a good friend may not be able to stop their friend from drinking, but a good friend is able to take their keys away and make sure that their other friends don’t have too much to drink. It is up to friends just as much as the campus to make sure that drinking alcohol does not get out of hand. Colleges know that underage drinking happens on campus, they just wish it wouldn’t. Because a college or university is not able to babysit their students constantly, it is ultimately up to the students to make the right decision. Drinking alcohol is a choice and sometimes it may seem like the right thing to do, but with the holiday seasons coming up, the roads are busier than ever. It is up to individuals to say no to drinking and driving if they have been drinking- even just one drink.

College students should not take for granted the opportunity that college offers them. Too many students waste scholarships on partying and drinking. College students are allowed to have fun, but fun shouldn’t always include alcohol. If a student drinks, they should drink in moderation and always keep track of how many they’re having. Students sometimes forget that they have a family at home waiting for them! A college party only lasts one night, but a stupid decision can have a lasting impact.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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