Shepherd University Binge Drinking Needs Assessment

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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 the Shepherd University Health Center to provide resources, assistance, and education to serve the group of 18 to 34 year olds on campus. To help us in our application for the grant, we completed a needs assessment. This assessment gathers information on the geographical area and demographics of Shepherd University, and surrounding areas that make up the university population.

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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 men, this could mean consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in about a two-hour period. For women, this could mean consuming four or more alcoholic drinks in about the same period (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). Binge drinking is most commonly practiced by people aged 18 to 34 (Centers for Disease Control, 2018). The problems associated with binge drinking are many. They include unintentional accidents, violence, sexually transmitted diseases, heart attack, brain and spinal cord inflammation, poor judgement, lack of control and dependence on alcohol (University of Rochester Medical Center, 2018). The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported that in 2015, binge drinking among college students aged 18 and 22 was at 37.9%. Meanwhile, 18 to 22 year olds not enrolled in college showed a lower percentage of binge drinking, at 32.6%.

The geographical area of Shepherd University is in the Shenandoah Valley, set alongside the Potomac River. The university is located in the eastern panhandle of West Virginia, in Shepherdstown, which falls in Jefferson County. Other counties we focused on when gathering information for the needs assessment include 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’s important to focus not just on Jefferson County. Given its convenient location, Shepherd University draws many commuter students.

The demographic data of Shepherd University shows a total enrollment of 3,763 students in the fall of 2017. Fifty-eight percent of students are female and forty-two percent are male. The student body is made up of seventy percent traditional students (under 25 years old) 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.
Epidemiological data gathered from the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources, and Shepherd University show the prevalence of binge drinking in the United States compared to Shepherd University and its surrounding areas. The percentages for binge drinking from Shepherd University and surrounding areas are as follows: Berkeley County — 13%; Jefferson — 16%. 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, reports 16% for binge drinking and Frederick County, Maryland, is at 19%. In Virginia, Frederick County reports 19%, Clarke county 17%, and Loudoun County 17%. Shepherd University, located in Jefferson County, West Virginia, shows 33% of students reporting binge drinking. The state of West Virginia as a whole is marked at 9.6% for the amount of reported binge drinking. The United States reports 16% for the amount of binge drinking. The figure below represents these results.

Healthy People 2020 set out specific goals related to binge drinking. They reported that, in 2015, 26.9% of people 18 years and older had participated in binge drinking within the past 30 days. The data were gathered by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. They aim to improve the baseline value from 26.9% to 24.2%, indicating a decrease in reports of binge drinking (Healthy People 2020, 2018). In 2008, they also showed a baseline of 41.1% of college students reporting participation in binge drinking within the past two weeks. The data were collected from the Monitoring the Future Study, the National Institute of Health, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. They hope to improve the baseline from 41.1% to 37%, also showing a decrease in reported binge drinking (Healthy People 2020, 2018). West Virginia Healthy People 2010 stated the goal was to reduce reported binge drinking by adults over the age of 18. They aim to reduce their baseline rate of 8.4% by 20% to reach their target level, which was not disclosed in their information (West Virginia Healthy People 2010, 2001).

After reviewing the collected data, it’s crucial to act swiftly and responsibly to counteract further harm from binge drinking. Educational materials and resources for Shepherd University students to make informed decisions about safe alcohol consumption could help reduce reports of binge drinking and its associated negative consequences. Providing counseling or resources to help students already affected by binge drinking is important and would hugely benefit from receiving this grant. We are seeking funds to deter new cases of binge drinking through proper educational resources like classes, pamphlets, risk surveys, and information on healthy ways to cope with being a college student. These funds would also aid in providing resources and education to students already involved in binge drinking.
The information gathered from West Virginia Healthy People 2010 shows that something is working positively in the battle against binge drinking because there has been a decrease in reported cases since that report was published. Continuing education from healthcare professionals, law enforcement, community leaders, guardians, and peers could further decrease the percentage of reported binge drinking, subsequently lowering the risks to individuals who participate in binge drinking and those potentially harmed by their actions.


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  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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Shepherd University Binge Drinking Needs Assessment. (2019, Sep 14). Retrieved from