Listen Up, College Students!
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by those under age 21 is in the form of binge drinking. That’s a pretty sobering stat, pardon the pun. The CDC’s definition of binge drinking is consuming 4 or more drinks for women and 5 or more drinks for men during a single occasion.
Beyond that, an estimated 31 percent of college students meet the criteria for an alcohol misuse diagnosis. The CDC defines alcohol misuse as a risk factor for a number of adverse health outcomes including unintentional injuries, violence, heart and liver disease, and various cancers. Alcohol misuse will affect the health of many students every semester, often leading to poor academic performance and lifelong struggles with addiction. It is important to understand the factors that influence student health, including both our individual choices and the campus environment. Encouraging healthy drinking behavior amongst our peers isn’t just about what could happen if we drink excessively, it’s also about the negative affects alcohol misuse and binge drinking will have on our health overtime.
Student organizations can do a lot to initiate smart drinking behavior on campus. What about launching an awareness campaign, or hosting an awareness event on your campus? It is also important for your institution to develop and enhance policies and practices to help you and your peers detect and treat arising alcohol consumption problems. Your school leaders want to hear from you that there is a need for this, and they want your suggestions on what messages will reach the student body. The more holistic your campus’ approach to intervention and prevention, the more likely they will see decreases in alcohol misuse on the campus.
Written by Dan Chen, IT’S TIME TEXAS Project Development Intern