Alcohol use among college students
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College drinking is the consumption of alcohol by students on the campus of any college or university. The age at which it is legal to drink varies by country and affects whether college drinking is considered illegal (e.g., as in the United States, where it is illegal for those under the age of 21 to drink).
Binge drinking occurs when students drink large amounts of alcohol in a relatively short space of time in order to feel the full effects of alcohol consumption. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person's blood alcohol concentration, also known as BAC, to 0.08 grams percent or above. This is usually seen when men consume five or more drinks, and when women consume four or more drinks in a two-hour time period. Most people younger than age 21 who drink alcohol report binge drinking. 40% that being college students.
Young adults who participate in binge drinking experience higher rates of physical and sexual assault, and unwanted, unplanned, and unprotected sexual activity. There are also links between heavy alcohol consumption and depression.
The motivations among young students have changed as well. In recent years, more students are drinking with the intended purpose of getting drunk.
The rates of college students binge drinking in the United States have fluctuated for the past years.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reported in 2012, that more than 80% of college students drink alcohol, with estimated 40% report binge drinking in the past 2 weeks, and about 25% report having academic consequences because of their drinking. 56% of students reported binge drinking once a week. In comparison, the comparable figure of alcoholism for American Indian and Alaskan Native youth is approximately 80 percent.
Individual and environmental factors for experiencing alcohol-related consequences have been identified such as drinking during high-risk periods, such as spring break, or belonging to specific student subgroups (e.g., Greek organizations). Drinking throughout high school also played a role, suggesting that binge drinking starts earlier than college for some.
As high as 40% of college students could now be considered alcoholics, as defined by the next edition psychiatry's diagnostic manual, but many of these individuals would be regarded as having only a mild drinking problem. Most college binge drinkers and drug users don't develop lifelong problems.
There are many health hazards that are caused from drinking. When students drink too much, the alcohol affects one's brain and ability to comprehend what is going on. One such problem is alcohol poisoning. After drinking too much, the alcohol and toxins in alcoholic drinks cause complications in one's brain and respiratory system. This causes mental and physical issues in one's body and could be very dangerous for one's health. Along with effecting one's health, students also have unintentional injuries because of being to intoxicated and that can effect ones health even more. 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes. Other hazardous health issues could arise from a drug called Rohypnol, nicknamed roofies. This is a toxic drug that could potentially be slipped into one's drink which cause one to lose sight of what one thinks and does. This will also cause complications within one's body. Nearly 150,000 college students develop some type of alcohol-related health problem every year. This may include liver damage, high blood pressure, inflammation of the pancreas and other health complications.
Potential legal consequences
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In certain countries, the drinking age of 18 or 21 is enforced. At certain U.S colleges, campus police will conduct bar raids by taking a certain number of people from the bar to catch underage students drinking. For example, at the University of Illinois, police will give tickets for underage students for just being an arms length distance from an alcoholic beverage. At other big universities, such as University of Wisconsin-Madison, students have to pay a ticket of about $250 and also pay for classes about the problems of drinking. Another major consequence is one's chances for college admission. If an individual has pictures on social media of them drinking or has a record with the police for underage drinking, this will cause a bad image of them and will cause issues when applying to schools.
Though not necessarily legal, college drinking has become so common that there are less legal consequences for students caught drinking as compared to non-campus drinking events. Students are encouraged to prioritize safe drinking over non-drinking. Many schools have transportation services that are specific to drinking so the students are transported safely.
- Cigarette smoking among college students
- College student alcoholism
- Alcohol advertising on college campuses
- American Indian alcoholism
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