Negative Effects of Binge Drinking
More than 40 percent of college students of all ages reported binge drinking at least once in the last two weeks, according to a national survey by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Many students are not aware that their alcohol consumption pattern is considered by health professionals as binge drinking.
What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after four drinks for women and five drinks for men in about two hours. Drinking this way can pose serious health and safety risks, including car crashes, drunk-driving arrests, sexual assaults and injuries. Frequent binge drinking can damage the liver and other organs.
Consequences of Binge Drinking
Drinking affects college students, their families and college communities at large. Below are some statistics associated with binge drinking habits:
- Death. More than 1800 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including car accidents each year.
- Assault. Almost 700,000 students each year between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been binge drinking.
- Sexual assault. Nearly 100,000 students each year between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
- Academic problems. One in four college students reports academic consequences from drinking, including missing class, falling behind in class, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall. In a national survey of college students, binge drinkers who consumed alcohol at least three times per week were roughly six times more likely than those who drank but never binged to perform poorly on a test or project as a result of drinking and five times more likely to have missed a class.
- Mood. Students who reported drinking binge levels were three times more likely to report symptoms of depression than students who did not report drinking at binge levels.
Although the majority of students come to college already having some experience with alcohol, certain aspects of college life, such as unstructured time, the widespread availability of alcohol and limited interactions with parents and other adults, can intensify the problem. In fact, college students have higher binge-drinking rates and a higher incidence of driving under the influence of alcohol than their non-college peers. The first semester of freshman year is a vulnerable time for heavy drinking and alcohol-related consequences because of student expectations and social pressures at the start of the academic year.
AlcoholEdu at Georgia State University
AlcoholEdu is a two part, educational, online course about alcohol and other drug safety. It is free for students, and the information is confidential. AlcoholEdu®, powered by Everfi, provides useful, research-based information to help students make healthy decisions and to help them develop healthy lifestyle habits that will benefit them the rest of their lives. AlcoholEdu® incorporates the latest evidence-based prevention methods to create a highly personalized user experience that inspires students to reflect on and consider changing their drinking behaviors. For more information on the course, visit AlcoholEdu.