Drinking alcohol is often just seen as a way of college life. It forms such a pivotal part of the social activities around college that it actually has a positive image. Despite the potential damage binge drinking can cause to our health it is actively promoted in colleges as a positive aspect of college life. The more you drink, the better your college experience with be. That is the general message.
However, there are statistics that might prove that ‘the more booze the better’ attitude to college life might not be so true. In fact, it might be more a case of ‘the more booze, the more likely you are to damage your body’. Even more worrying is the ignorance to the facts that students have. It seems that everyone is aware of the issues binge drinking alcohol can cause but even though drinking alcohol is just as potentially dangerous as smoking cigarettes, there seems to be this fearlessness towards it.
A study conducted by the University of Oregon shows some really disturbing statistics about college drinking. On average, it is believed that 1,700 college students die from alcohol-related incidents every year. This could be from alcohol poisoning, choking on their own sick after a heavy night, traffic accidents caused by drink driving, acts of violence caused by alcohol intake or any other such incidents. 599,000 college students are injured via alcohol-related reasons. Acts of violence and sexual assaults increase with binge drinking and most startlingly, it is estimated that 2.1m students drive each year having drunk alcohol.
The statistics are frightening. There is such a laissez-faire attitude to drinking in colleges across the globe, particularly in the US with the fraternity culture and sports teams. It seems as if because drinking can cause happiness and good terms that it is not deemed as dangerous as marijuana or cocaine or cigarettes. The reality is that it is probably more dangerous due to the levels it is consumed and the environment it is consumed in.
51% of people who binge drink are believed to be between the ages of 18 years old and 21 years old… the years that students attend college. Drinking alcohol is such an important way of life that if you don’t do it, you will find it harder to fit in. Many succumb to the peer pressure but many just drift into the habit without even realizing it.
What is perhaps more worrying is that when students leave college their drinking habits follow them. It is setting a standard of drinking that carries on throughout the individual’s life. Binge drinking for a prolonged period will cause health issues and some might argue that the colleges should be doing more to promote awareness of the problems that it can bring. Ultimately, it is down to the responsibility of the individual. It is their life and they can do with it what they will. It is worrying though that maybe students are being given a misinterpreted message about how dangerous drinking can be, particular if the habits they hold in college follow them into their later life. They could well be a ticking time bomb for liver, kidney and heart disease. The facts and statistics are there. It is time to start addressing the issue more directly.