Effects of Binge Drinking on College Students
Binge drinking is a growing problem in the United States that shows no signs of slowing down. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking can be defined as, “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above”. The NIAAA also states that binge drinking usually occurs when men consume five or more drinks within two hours, or when women consume four or more within the same amount of time. Binge drinking is a serious problem and one specific group of people that can be greatly affected by it is college students. Binge drinking in colleges has been responsible for over 1,800 deaths every year in college students. In addition, an average of 600,000 students get injured while intoxicated and over 100,000 students are victims of sexual assault on campus because of alcohol abuse and binge drinking. One in four students also claim that binge drinking has negatively impacted their grades, (McMurtrie 2014). Another interesting statistic about binge drinking in colleges is that on average about 44% of students in all colleges nationwide are binge drinkers, (McMurtrie 2014). This is a problem that is worth investigating because although binge drinking in colleges is such a growing problem, its shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to this, colleges and universities around the country are aware of this problem, but do very little to try to combat it. The colleges and universities that do try to combat binge drinking among students are generally unsuccessful and try to combat it by using ineffective and outdated methods that show little to no results. Binge drinking can affect students mental and physical health, affect academic performance and can lead to serious alcohol addictions later in life. Although there are many known negative consequences of binge drinking among college students, very little is being done to prevent it.
Some of the factors that contribute to binge drinking among college students are peer pressure and marketing to the youth. For many people, college is one of the first times that they have freedom to do what they want because there is no supervision from parents or family. Peer pressure and lack of supervision can lead students to try alcohol for the first time, or can lead them to binge drink. Watching peers can affect a student’s preferences, and can make a student who is watching other students drink, have the desire to drink themselves, (Levy, Kremer 2008). In a study done by Michael Krever and Dan Levy, students were paired with their roommates either randomly through a lottery system or paired with a students who admitted to binge drinking before college. The results of this study showed that students who were paired with a previous binge drinker had on average a lower grade point average than those paired with someone who did not drink. Through their findings, they determined that student’s alcohol use is influenced heavily by peers (Levy, Krever 2008). Another potential cause of binge drinking is that alcohol is marketed to the youth. Before an individual is of legal age to consume alcohol, it is estimated that they will see over 75,000 scenes of alcohol consumption in television, movies, commercials and other advertisements.(Roth, Friedman 1987). In addition to this, these commercials often have celebrity endorsements from musicians or professional athletes. These people are role models to the youth, and can influence them to drink alcohol later in life (Roth, Friedman 1987). Modern examples of this are drinks like pro athlete Conor McGregor’s, Proper No. Twelve, Whiskey and rap superstar P. Diddy’s, Ciroc, vodka. Peer pressure from peers and youth marketing are some of the potential causes of binge drinking in colleges.
The reason that binge drinking among college students is so problematic is because it can have negative effects on student’s health and safety, and can lead to alcoholism in their futures. Every year, it is estimated that 1,800 college students die because of alcohol related accidents. In addition to this, over 600,000 students are injured each year and there are over 100,000 sexual assaults occur because of an alcohol related incident (McMurtrie 2014). In addition to this, students can suffer from a lack of self esteem and problems getting along with others including their family because of alcohol and binge drinking (Mills, Pfaffenberger, McCarty 1981). Heavy binge drinking and consumption of alcohol can also lead to a lifetime of alcohol addiction. On average, alcoholism can shorten an individual’s life span up anywhere from 10-12 years (Mills, Pfaffenberger, McCarty 1981). The term “Problem Drinker” is used to describe someone that consumes alcohol in a way that cause them problems with their health, relationships, or self esteem. There are an estimated 9-10 million problem drinkers on the United States, and the most amount of these problem drinkers are aged 18-20 (Mills, Pfaffenberger, McCarty 1981). Binge drinking among college students is problematic because it can negatively affect students mental and physical health, and can lead to alcohol addiction later in life.
Some of the social costs of college binge drinking and alcohol abuse are reduced productivity of workers and increased health care costs.