The Risks of College Age Drinking
Intervention for binge drinking in college has shown to be successful, but only for a limited time according to research published in the APA Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. A total 1,040 college students participated in a twelve-month study by James Henson, PhD, a psychology professor at Old Dominion University. He concluded that “brief prevention efforts can be effective but may require colleges to implement intervention boosters to maintain these effects.”
The study found:
“At the one month follow-up, most students (82 percent) reported drinking less than before the intervention. However, most of these participants (84 percent) also ended up increasing their drinking over the following 12 months until they were back to baseline levels.”
This illustrates the importance of continuing education warning about alcohol related consequences. Early and regular prevention is a viable and practical method for teaching young people about the dangers of excessive drinking, especially in this high-risk age group.
Consider the following information reported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
- Death: 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries.
- Assault: More than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 get assaulted each year by another student, who has been drinking.
- Sexual Abuse: More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
- Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.
- Academic Problems: About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.
- Health Problems/Suicide Attempts: More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use.
It is evident that alcohol related problems involve not only those who do the drinking, but their actions can negatively affect other people in life-changing ways.
A popular new program at some colleges is promoting students not to experiment with drinking at all.
“Students must already be sober and sign a “commitment contract” that they will stay clean throughout college through a well-outlined plan of structure,” according to a recent story in the New York Times.
There are now 135 Collegiate Recovery communities on campuses all over the country. They are geared to support students in recovery from addiction who are seeking a degree in higher education, by sharing the goals of providing personal support, preventing occurrences of relapse, and promoting academic performance. While “sober” colleges are promising ideas, for now this is not the reality on campuses today.