Whether you drink alcohol or not, the effects of binge drinking on college campuses affect everyone. Beyond the negative consequences that students can experience as a result, the outcome can also be fatal. Some of the stories, though ridiculous, are still the stark reality of college life.
What defines ‘binge drinking’?
There is a fine line between binge and ‘regular’ drinking. As far as a definition is concerned, for men, 5 drinks in two hours and for women, 4 drinks in two hours is considered to be a binge. College students who binge drink admit that they do this six times or more a month. Binge drinking is usually marked by a few key factors. Typically an event, such as spring break or a birthday will get young people together to celebrate on a larger scale than they would simply hanging out. College fraternities and sororities are also a growing concern when it comes to pledges and the initiation processes. Larger groups of people, larger amounts of alcohol and drinking games are also involved.
Effects of Binge Drinking
For young people who are binge drinking in college, consuming large amounts of alcohol damage circulation flow which can trigger strokes, heart attacks, and atherosclerosis later on in life. The immediate effects of this kind of drinking are blackouts, alcohol poisoning, motor vehicle accidents, poor academic performance, falls resulting in serious injuries, as well as the many lasting effects of sexual assaults (unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases), and more importantly, death.
Fatalities Associated with Binge Drinking
Here are some fatalities of young people associated with binge drinking. Taken from Project Know.
“Student dies after ‘downing 16 shots’ as she celebrated her 21st birthday”: Lydia Gale Clark didn’t know her twenty-first birthday celebration would be her last when she set out with her friends on a night of bar hopping for a six-hour drinking marathon. Lydia’s father, Brad Clark, and his wife had talked to Lydia about the dangers and effects of drinking alcohol before her birthday rolled around. “I don’t get this rite of passage where these kids think you have to do 21 shots . I mean, holy cow,” Clark said.
“Acadia student dies after binge drinking: Student was seen playing ‘flip cup’ in residence”: Being found dead in a basement dorm room was one unlucky 19-year-old student’s fate after a night of heavy binge drinking, playing the popular college party game “flip cup.” The media respected the parents’ wishes to keep the news private, but a friend did make a statement: “He was drinking a 40 oz. of something and he pretty much drank the whole thing … not even mixing it.”
“College freshman, 18, dies from binge drinking ‘after being locked in room with 15 other pledges and told not to come out until all liquor was gone'”: As part of a hazing ritual by his fraternity leaders, 18-year-old Philip Dhanens was locked in a room with fifteen others and were told they couldn’t leave until they had drank all of the alcohol. Dhanens had only been at the college for two weeks before he died.
“Molly Ammon died from alcohol poisoning while on spring break: Friends put her to bed to ‘sleep it off'”: When Molly Ammon left for a spring break party nearby her family’s home, her mother, Angie, wasn’t worried. Her daughter had always been the responsible one. However, Molly consumed thirteen drinks quickly, bringing her blood alcohol level to five times the legal limit, resulting in her death. Her mother has since made a Facebook page called “Molly Ammon Spring Break Awareness” to warn other families about the binge drinking that goes on at college parties.
What are your thoughts on binge drinking?
Though reports of incidents with regular drinking have remained relatively the same over the past 30 years, binge drinking has escalated. As colleges and administrators employ more effective tools to combat this growing epidemic through improvements with prevention, a reduction in high school drinking will hopefully transmit through to college students, informing them of the negative consequences. What do you believe that colleges and administrators should do about binge drinking?