The Disturbing State of College Drinking: 10 Telling Facts

by Staff Writers

Scaremongers, students, and regular folks alike with probably think "beer" amongst the top 5 words associated with college life. Beer is pretty awesome, but guzzling it (or other alcoholic beverages) excessively proves problematic from a public health perspective. Unfortunately, really serious issues involved with binge drinking often wind up waved away as "just how those crazy kids are these days!" Reality says otherwise, with statistics revealing the totally uncool underbelly of overindulgence. Teaching responsible drinking habits with a balanced attitude backed by statistics and facts remains key in saving lives and ensuring students get the most out of their academic careers. Read on to discover 10 revealing facts about college drinking today.

  1. Over 40% of college students binge drink

    According to the National Institute of Health, four out of five college students consume alcohol, and at least two of them admit to binge drinking on a weekly basis. Predisposition to participating in such habits stem from race, gender, and socioeconomic bracket, as well as involvement in the Greek System. Sociologist Thomas Vander Ven's Getting Wasted, the most comprehensive inquiry into the realities behind collegiate boozing, discovered that binge drinking is more prevalent in white students (50% do it), males (49%), fraternity and sorority members, and the middle and upper classes over all other demographics.

  2. An average of 1,825 students die each year as a result of alcohol-related injuries

    And a further 599,000 wind up injured in direct correlation with consumption. This information comes courtesy of a 11-year-old Annual Review of Public Health study, so the actual numbers may have shifted slightly as time marched forward in that linear fashion it loves so much. Specifics aside, alcohol-related injuries and death still remain a sad reality on college campuses across the United States. Seeing as how 3,360,000 students confess they drive while under the influence, looking at the previously mentioned numbers starts sinking into perspective – though, of course, not all of these incidents involve motor vehicles.

  3. Fifty percent of college sexual assaults involve alcohol

    But let's get one thing straight here, folks – victims should NOT be held accountable for these crimes simply because they drank. Alcohol amplifies aggressive behavior and lowers defenses, making it a sadly common instigator for violence. The staggering majority of rapes and sexual assaults happen to women, with men as the perpetrators, though members of all demographics can be hurt and do the hurting. Amongst the females studied, 90% of cases involve someone they actually knew, 50% happen during the course of a date, and 5% qualify as gang rapes and assaults.

  4. Drinking accounts for 25% of academic problems

    Whether missing classes, watching grades drop, or failing out entirely, alcohol can hold a negative impact on grades if consumption goes unchecked. Hangovers and other related health conditions seem to account for this phenomenon more than simply skipping homework and courses for good times.

  5. College pot smokers are more likely to binge drink

    Approximately 98% of marijuana users also engage in other high-risk behaviors while attending college, binge drinking among them. In addition, they reported smoking cigarettes and consuming other illegal substances in greater numbers. Harvard noted these trends between 1997 and 2001, so the trend may have changed slightly over time. Despite its correlation, it must be noted that one can consume weed and abstain from alcohol abuse and vice versa.

  1. Young college women with depression are the highest-risk group for alcohol abuse

    Even though college-age white men from middle-to-upper-class backgrounds are more likely to binge drink, their female counterparts suffering from clinical depression or similar mental health issue are considered the riskiest demographic – particularly if they hail from minority and/or low socioeconomic backgrounds. Substance abuse and unaddressed (or, in some cases, addressed) psychological diagnoses often exist side-by-side, and 81.7% of college kids with these conditions admit they drink. Fifty-six percent do because they want to get drunk, as opposed to the 51% without mental illness.

  2. Binge drinking in college costs over half a million dollars in emergency department visits

    University of Madison-Wisconsin researchers noted that large universities spend around $500,000 per year on alcohol-related sicknesses and injuries, courtesy of their emergency centers. Over half of the cases involved binge drinking where patients didn't consume enough to pass out, but they fail to remember exactly what they did the night before. Which directly ties into the next little chunk o' knowledge…

  3. Binge drinkers are more likely to experience unwanted pregnancies

    Everyone knows alcohol lowers inhibitions, meaning college students often use it as an icebreaker when trying to talk to that cute boy and/or girl they totally dig. There's nothing inherently wrong with a wee tipple for the courage necessary for confessing an attraction. But neglecting to drink in moderation opens up ones risk to irresponsible sexual behavior – particularly improperly using or outright forgetting birth control. Not only could this result in the stress and cost of deciding what to do with an unwanted or unexpected pregnancy, it opens up participants to contracting STDs and STIs as well.

  4. Most binge drinkers are 26 or older

    Campus life stereotypes paint excessive drinking as the realm of boisterous (and dangerous) students who shape up once degrees end up conferred. In reality, though, 70% of instances actually come from adults age 26 or older – not the underage revelers one typically sees spotting the media. Of all adults engaging in binge drinking episodes, 92% reported that they did so within the past 30 days.

  5. Most alcohol consumed by underage drinkers is part of a binge episode

    When American drinkers under the age of 21 indulge their want of the drink, they usually do so when planning something excessive. Ninety percent of their consumption, in fact. The United States Department of Justice revealed that underage binge drinking mostly occurs amongst the 18-to-20-year-old demographic, with 24% reporting back that they did so within the last 30 days.