Alcohol Abuse on College Campuses

college graduate drinking beer

Today, alcohol on college campuses has become more of a rite of passage than anything else. The first day of sleeping on the hard dormitory beds is the initiation and the stroll across the glossy stage is the final ritual. However, in between those phases, many college students may decide to flock to alcohol to really celebrate their new-found freedom.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

 “about four out of five college students drink alcohol. About half of college students who drink are binge drinkers.”

In college, alcohol is a form of social acceptance, but it can lead to addiction and violence. Alcohol also impairs judgment, severs important relationships and can ultimately affect a student’s future. Often, sexual assault, violence, arrests, and deaths on college campuses involve alcohol. Studies done by NIAA show that more than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. Even if a student chooses not to drink alcohol, they are still affected by it.

Alcohol is one of the easiest substances to gain access to in college, even if you’re underage. It has become a social norm for students who are not considering its long-term effects. Across the state, many universities and colleges are taking the necessary steps to prevent alcohol abuse.

At Florida Atlantic University, Located in Boca Raton Florida, Alcohol and Drug Counseling Services are available to students who either have a past of addiction or need help making the right decisions about alcohol.

At the University of Central Florida, counseling and psychological services are available for students seeking alcohol and drug preventive counseling.

Florida State University’s counseling center evaluates students with possible drug and alcohol addictions and, if necessary, refers them to different treatment centers in the community.

7 Ways to Prevent Alcohol Abuse on Campus

  1. If you are underage, do not drink illegally.
    Let’s be honest; Alcohol is easier to gain access to than course textbooks. Many schools even sell alcohol on campus and allow students to drink during tailgates. But if a young student learns not to be influenced by their friends and environment, then they will be least likely to develop a dependence on alcohol.
  2. Learn the state’s legal alcohol limit.
    In Florida, a blood alcohol limit of .08 or above is illegal and will lead to DUI offense. A DUI conviction will permanently damage a student’s background and possibly limit their future opportunities.
  3. Learn your alcohol limit.
    Some people have a higher alcohol tolerance than others. You can never drink according to someone else’s limit. If your limit is only two glasses of wine before you begin feeling buzzed, then try not to go over that limit.
  4. Determine if you are drinking to fit in.
    Many times, a student who has never tried alcohol before won’t be interested in it until they are surrounded by it. If alcohol isn’t for you, you are not abnormal. It’s always better to find your identity by being authentic than to find it within a substance.
  5. Attend alcohol and drug prevention events.
    It may not be as popular as the night club across from your dorm, but drug prevention events are very informative. A student can get the proper support and help they need to stay away from binge drinking.
  6. Change your circle of friends.
    If you want to make better decisions about alcohol but your friends are entertaining alcohol abuse, then it’s time for new friends. Surround yourself with people who will support you and influence you to make positive decisions.
  7. Never accept an alcoholic beverage from a stranger.
    Accepting alcohol from strangers can lead to abuse in other ways. Date rape drugs are common substances often slipped inside of a young woman’s drink. This is why learning your limit at social gatherings is important. Always remember to watch your surroundings.

college students playing beer pong

Dazed And Confused: The Effects Of Alcohol

Alcohol is far more than liquid courage for the body. Many young people may feel invincible to the effects of alcohol, but binge drinking can start taking a toll on a healthy 20-year-old’s body. Last April, the death of 20-year-old James Madison University student, Marisa Curlen stunned the campus community when she was found dead in her dormitory from alcohol poisoning.

Some of the dangerous effects of alcohol are:

  • Consistent drinking over time causes liver disease. Alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis threaten the body’s ability to metabolize alcohol. Without the function of the liver, these alcohol-related diseases can cause death.
  • Alcohol, not broken down by the liver, can travel to the brain. Brain impairment from alcohol is apparent in drunken behavior. Over time, alcohol can shrink the frontal lobes of the brain, which impairs thinking skills.
  • Alcohol can damage the heart’s function. Long-term alcohol abuse can result in high blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease.
  • Alcohol poisoning is a deadly consequence from drinking too much alcohol in a short period of time. When a large amount of alcohol is consumed it can affect breathing, heart rate, body temperature and gag reflex. Alcohol poisoning can lead to a coma and death.
  • Sexual Assault and violence are the most common consequences of alcohol on campus. People are more prone to engaging in irrational behavior when drunk. They also become vulnerable to predators. A drunk student may pass out and become susceptible to being drugged and coerced into sex.
  • Fatal accidents caused by drunk driving is always a possibility when an inebriated student gets behind the wheel. According to CollegeDrinkingPrevention.org, more than 1,800 students die each year from alcohol-related injuries, such as motor vehicle crashes.

Treatment Options For Alcohol Abuse

Currently, more than 135 recovery programs exist on college campuses across the nation.

The various rehab options a student should consider is residential treatment, inpatient treatment, recovery groups, and if needed an intervention program. Support groups on campus are available to keep a student from relapsing after treatment. Once released back into the college lifestyle, stress, peer pressure, and depression can play a factor in a student’s relapse.

Often, therapy and counseling methods are continued at 12-step meetings and Alcoholics Anonymous. These groups help motivate students to remain sober.

College is a time to celebrate being young and independent. But the decisions a student make will affect their future. Abusing alcohol and binge drinking can lead to a deadly addiction.

Ultimately, recreational habits of drinking alcohol can damage or threaten a person’s life.

If you or someone you know needs help with an alcohol addiction, call 1-855-619-8070, our addiction specialist at Recovery Hub will make sure to put you in contact with those you need to overcome addiction.

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