Shepherd University Binge Drinking Needs Assessment

There is a need for continued education on what binge drinking is and the detrimental effects that it has. The grant that we want to apply for would allow for the Shepherd University Health Center to provide resources, assistance, and education to help serve the group of 18 to 34 year olds that are on campus. To help us in our application for the grant, we have completed a needs assessment to gather information on the geographical area and demographics of Shepherd University and surrounding areas that make up the population of the university.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention defines binge drinking as an excessive consumption of alcohol over a two hour period that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration level to 0.08 percent or above. For males, it can be consuming five or more alcoholic beverages in about a two hour time period and for females, it can be consuming four or more alcoholic beverages in about a two hour time period (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). Binge drinking is most commonly done by people aged 18 to 34 (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). The problems associated with binge drinking are endless. Unintentional accidents, violence, sexually transmitted diseases, heart attack, brain and spinal cord inflammation, poor judgement, lack of control, and dependence on alcohol are just some of the lasting effects that binge drinking can cause (University of Rochester Medical Center, 2018). The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that in 2015, binge drinking among college students between the ages of 18 and 22 was at 37.9 % whereas other 18 to 22 year olds that were not enrolled in college showed a lower percentage of binge drinking which was reported as 32.6%.

The geographical area of Shepherd University is in the Shenandoah Valley and it is set alongside the Potomac River. It is located in the Eastern panhandle of West Virginia in Shepherdstown which is in Jefferson County. Other counties that will be focused on when gathering information for the needs assessment are Berkeley County, West Virginia, Frederick and Washington counties in Maryland, and Clarke, Frederick, and Loudoun Counties in Virginia. Shepherd University is known as a commuter school so it is important to focus on the surrounding areas and to not just limit ourselves to focusing on Jefferson County due to the fact that Shepherd University welcomes many commuter students due to the convenience of its location.

The demographic data of Shepherd University is as follows. There is a total enrollment of 3,763 students noted in the fall of 2017. Fifty-eight percent of students are female and forty-two percent of students are male. The student body consists of seventy percent traditional students (<25) and thirty percent non-traditional students. The students are 81.8% white, 8.1% black/African American, 3.5% Hispanic/Latino, 2% Asian, 0.7% American Indian/Alaska Native, 0.3% non-resident Alien, 0.1% Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander, and 3.6% are of unknown ethnicity.

The epidemiological data gathered from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, and Shepherd University to show the prevalence of binge drinking in the United States as compared to Shepherd University and its surrounding areas. The percentages for binge drinking from Shepherd University and surrounding areas is as follows. The percentage of binge drinking in Berkeley County is 13% and it is shown to be 16% in Jefferson. Berkeley County is ranked number 21 and Jefferson County is ranked number 1 in the state of West Virginia for the behavioral factors category that consists of risky behaviors including binge drinking. Washington County, Maryland shows 16% for binge drinking and Frederick County, Maryland shows 19%. In Virginia, Frederick County shows 19%, Clarke county shows 17%, and Loudoun County shows 17%. Shepherd University, which is located in Jefferson County, West Virginia, is shown to have 33% of students that reported binge drinking. The state of West Virginia as a whole is marked at 9.6% for the amount of binge drinking that is reported. The United States is shown to report 16% for the amount of binge drinking. The figure below represents these results.

Healthy People 2020 set out specific goals associated with binge drinking. They reported that 26.9% of people 18 years and older did participate in binge drinking within the past 30 days in 2015. The data was gathered by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They would like to see the baseline value of 26.9% improve to their target value of 24.2%, which shows a decrease in reports of binge drinking (Healthy People 2020, 2018). In 2008, they also show a baseline of 41.1% of college students reporting that they participated in binge drinking within the past two weeks. The data was collected from Monitoring the Future Study, the National Institute of Health, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. They want their baseline of 41.1% to improve to their target value of 37%, which would show a decrease of binge drinking reported (Healthy People 2020, 2018). West Virginia Healthy People 2010 stated that the goal was to reduce the amount of binge drinking that is reported by adults over the age of 18. They want to reduce their baseline rate of 8.4% by 20% to get their target level which was not reported in their information (West Virginia Healthy People 2010, 2001).

After reviewing the data collected, it is important to act quickly and responsibly to help combat further detriments due to the effects of binge drinking. Education materials and resources to aid the students at Shepherd University to make educated decisions about consuming alcohol in a safe manner would help to combat the reports of binge drinking along with potential negative consequences associated with it. Providing counseling or resources to help those students already affected by binge drinking is important and would be benefitted by receiving this grant. The funds that we are seeking will help with deterring new cases of binge drinking due to proper educational resources such as classes, pamphlets, risk surveys, and information on healthy ways to cope and deal with being a college student. The funds would also help with providing resources and education to the students that are already involved in binge drinking.

The information gathered from West Virginia Healthy People 2010 shows that something is working in a positive way in the battle against binge drinking because there has been a decrease in reported cases since that report came out. Continuing education from healthcare professionals, law enforcement, leaders of the community, guardians, and peers could keep decreasing the percentage of binge drinking that is reported and therefore lowering the risks associated to the individuals that participate in binge drinking and the people that could potentially be harmed by their actions.


  1. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, May 10). Alcohol and public health.
  2. Retrieved September 25, 2018, from
  3. Healthy People 2020. (2018, September 29). Substance abuse. Retrieved September 29, 2018, from
  4. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2018, August). Alcohol facts and statistics. Retrieved September 28, 2018, from
  5. Shepherd University. (2015). Alcohol and other drugs. Retrieved September 25, 2018, from
  6. Shepherd University. (2015). Binge drinking. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from
  7. Shepherd University. (2017). Quick facts fall 2017. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from
  8. University of Rochester Medical Center. (2018). The dangers of binge drinking. Retrieved September 25, 2018, from
  9. University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. (2018). County health rankings and roadmaps. Retrieved September 24, 2018, from
  10. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. (2014). West Virginia behavioral risk factor surveillance system report 2014. Retrieved September 25, 2018, from
  11. West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources. (2001, June 28). West Virginia Healthy People 2010 objectives. Retrieved September 26, 2018, from
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