Many students associate drinking with Thirsty Thursday, game day or finals week. Yet, when I think of college drinking, I think of the death of my family member who passed away due to alcohol abuse. Consuming too much alcohol causes dangerous short- and long-term effects. Something must be done to stop the excessive drinking that happens on college campuses.
According to the Alcohol Rehab Guide, “Roughly 80% of college students — four out of every five — consume alcohol to some degree. It’s estimated that 50% of those students engage in binge drinking.” Binge drinking is when men consume five or more drinks in two hours and when women consume four or more drinks. Binge drinking has a major toll on the body. It affects the liver, which can lead to liver disease, and the cardiovascular system, in which alcohol can increase the risk of a heart attack and high blood pressure. When students continue drinking night after night, the body cannot recover, causing major damage.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states that “about 20% of college students meet the criteria for an AUD.” AUD stands for Alcohol Use Disorder, and it is the medical diagnosis given when a drinking problem becomes too severe. The Mayo Clinic explains that when one consumes too much alcohol, it can start to affect your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain.
Not only does alcohol consumption affect one psychically, it can harm one’s mental health. Between assault and sexual assault, 793,000 college students have been affected due to alcohol abuse. Alcohol is no joke, and just because it is legal, that doesn’t mean it’s not harmful.
Some students would argue they are just drinking to have fun, and after graduating they will stop excessively drinking. Students say college drinking and partying is part of the college experience. Yes, college is more than just academics, and everyone deserves to have fun. However, when drinking an exorbitant amount of alcohol, students run the risk of developing alcohol abuse later in life. I was one who couldn’t fathom how alcohol could cause serious health issues: how can a legal liquid deteriorate one’s body? However, after knowing someone who has passed for this reason, it’s clear to me that alcohol can be deadly.
Too much drinking in college can cause a risk of injury, performing poorly in class, becoming a victim of assault, committing criminal activities and having health problems. No amount of drinking just to have fun is worth going through any, if not all, these consequences.
I think students know to be cautious at times with alcohol. However, there are many dangers that students don’t know that should be taught. Fortunately, West Chester University offers counseling and Rams in Recovery to help WCU students recover. Unfortunately, if they are going to these programs, that means they already started a battle with alcohol. The goal would be to prevent students from getting to this point. If West Chester University required a mandatory alcohol awareness class, I believe it could prevent students from potentially becoming a binge drinker or having an AUD.
College drinking is a serious problem, and society must teach students to protect themselves against alcohol and alcohol abuse.
Julia Cannon is a third-year Media and Culture major minoring in digital marketing. JC911675@wcupa.edu
“Alcohol Use Disorder.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 4 June 2020, www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/overview-alcohol-consumption/alcohol-use-disorders.
“College Drinking.” National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 10 Feb. 2020, www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/college-drinking.
Galbicsek, Carol. “College Alcoholism and Binge Drinking.” Alcohol Rehab Guide, 19 May 2020, www.alcoholrehabguide.org/resources/college-alcohol-abuse/.
Mayo Clinic Staff. “Alcohol Use Disorder.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 11 July 2018, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/alcohol-use-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20369243