Know the dangers of binge drinkingAn entire new batch of freshmen will arrive on college campuses this fall, many on their own for the first time.
By: By Crystal Hoepner, Public health, Alexandria Echo Press
An entire new batch of freshmen will arrive on college campuses this fall, many on their own for the first time.
With no curfews and no one to answer to, it’s not suprising that one of the first things that most college students do is go out drinking.
With no one limiting their intake, it’s even less surprising that they ususally drink too much and consume large amounts of alcohol in a relatively short period. That drinking is known as “binge drinking” and can come with a death sentence.
Between 1999 to 2005, more than 157 college students drank themselves to death (most current data). Of those, 83 who died were not even old enough to legally drink.
In almost every case a friend knew that the person was drunk and put them to bed to “sleep it off.” The average blood alcohol level was 0.40, or five times the legal limit for driving.
As parents send their teens off to college they know that some partying will take place, but they would never imagine their student dying from alcohol poisoning.
Typically, college students drink the same amount as other adults during any given week or month. The difference is how they drink. College students wait for a party and down a week’s worth of alcohol in a single setting.
Drinking games for instance, keg stands, Jell-O shots, and power hour (drinking 21 shots on a 21st birthday) play dangerous roles in the heavy drinking craze. These games have proven popular among freshmen who are new to the college party scene.
In 2005 Minnesota passed a law that blocks people turning 21 from being served alcohol until 8 a.m. on the day of their birthday. This came following a Minnesota State-Moorhead student who died from alcohol poisoning after celebrating his 21st birthday with a power hour.
Every year freshmen are told the dangers of extreme drinking so they can take personal responsibility. You wonder why students keep drinking dangerously? Because, binge drinking has become a part of their culture on and around college campuses. It’s their weekly entertainment. In their mind the biggest consequence is the morning after hangover.
Students view deaths from alcohol poisoning as freak accidents. They convey the attitude “it won’t happen to me or my friends.”
Have a college-bound teen? What can you say to help prepare them for the pressures they might encounter to binge drink? Being upfront may be your best defense.
Engage in casual conversations by asking open-ended questions: What do you think about the drinking you see on campus? Do you think students know that binge drinking can kill them?