Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Binge Drinking Common on U.S. Campuses

Study Finds Binge Drinking Chronic on U.S. Campuses
By Jim Brown
September 15, 2004

(AgapePress) - Researchers are beginning to see just how serious the problem of alcohol abuse is on university campuses around the nation. A recent study shows that binge drinking on college campuses, both among men and women, is more widespread than previously supposed.

According to a study by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation's Prevention Research Center, it is not at all uncommon for males in college to consume more than 24 alcoholic drinks in a day when they party. The research also indicates that, on about 20 percent of drinking occasions, male college drinkers may have 12 drinks or more.

And although co-eds tend to drink less than their male counterparts, the researchers found many college women also engage in binge drinking. Study author Dr. Paul Gruenewald notes that, although college females drink at these heavy levels about half as often as college males do, they are still at risk. Female college students "drink fairly infrequently," he says. "However, women are much smaller, become intoxicated more rapidly, and are subject to exactly the same kinds of problems, just at lower drinking levels."

The researcher feels the student drinking problem is far worse than many college administrators and parents of college-bound young adults realize. He says both the schools and the students' families need to become better informed and prepared to deal with the situation.

"Parents should be very much aware that college students are at risk for these kinds of problems and should talk to their children about them," Gruenewald says.

As for educators' part, he suggests, "Colleges should spend a bit more time educating kids about these risks of very heavy or very high levels of drinking. Also, since we know these programs are effective, [schools] should work as hard as they can to reduce access to alcohol among these underage drinkers."

Gruenwald says binge drinkers are often thought by their friends to have simply fallen asleep when they have actually passed out and become comatose. Police believe alcohol consumption is to blame for the recent death of a 19-year-old former homecoming queen, whose body was found at a Colorado State University fraternity.

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