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What is Binge Drinking?

Having a few drinks with friends may seem harmless, however, drinking too much too fast can quickly become very dangerous. Binge drinking can lead to many disasters, including DUI/DWI’s and sexual assault.

Binge drinking is an exceptionally dangerous and destructive drinking pattern that is defined as men drinking 5 or more drinks in a 2 hour period, and women drinking 4 or more drinks in a 2 hour period. While this behavior can be found among individuals of all ages, it is very prevalent among college aged students and frequently occurs on college campuses. While some people mistakenly confuse binge drinking and alcoholism, most binge drinkers are not alcoholics, and instead, choose to engage in this dangerous behavior.

Aside from the negative health effects that alcohol can have on drinkers, there are a host of serious dangers specifically associated with binge drinking. One of the most serious dangers associated with binge drinking, but one that is rarely discussed, is the emotional toll of binge drinking among college students. A lot of students who engage in binge drinking do so to manage some amount of stress or unhappiness. Rather than addressing their problems with a professional, far too many young people instead try to “relax” by drinking too much with their friends, and never tending to the deeper issues at hand.

Binge drinking also puts young people in a dangerous situation, as many find themselves too intoxicated to deal with any problems or difficulties that arise. This is especially true when it comes to sexual activity. Far too many young people report being the victims of sexual assault after having indulged in too many drinks, and many are left to deal with consequences like emotional trauma, unplanned pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases.

Additionally, according to the CDC, binge drinkers are more likely to drive while they are intoxicated than non-binge drinkers, making it more likely for these individuals to cause devastating or even fatal car accidents and find themselves in need of a DUI lawyer if pulled over and charged with an alcohol-related driving offense. This increase in drunk driving also puts these individuals, and everyone else around them on the road, at risk of being injured or killed in a drunk driving accident.

Fortunately, many schools and other institutions are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers that binge drinking poses to college students, and as such, are taking aggressive action to try and limit or stop this destructive behavior on college campuses.

The Dangers of Drinking on College Campuses

College brings with it a host of experiences for young people, some more beneficial than others. While many students are able to receive a world-class education and expand their knowledge base and understanding, many also experiment with destructive behaviors like drug use and excessive drinking.

While most students tend to consider a bad hangover to be the worst possible side-effect of a night of heavy drinking, there are actually a number of serious and potentially life-altering consequences to binge drinking and underage drinking on college campuses:

  • Death – According to a study in the Annual Review of Public Health, approximately 1,825 college students (ages 18-24) die in alcohol-related incidents, including drunk driving accidents
  • Drunk Driving (physical consequences) – Alcohol significantly impair’s a driver’s ability to safely operate his or her vehicle, exposing everyone on the road near a drunk driver to the risk of serious injury or even death in a drunk driving accident.
  • Drunk Driving (legal consequences) – In addition to the risk of injury or death that accompanies drunk driving, some students will make the decision to get behind the wheel after drinking, putting them at risk of being charged with an alcohol-related driving offense, like a DUI or DWI. Students face school-related penalties, like suspension and even expulsion, and more serious legal penalties. In some instances, students may need to secure the assistance of a DUI lawyer or another legal representative to help them avoid life-altering consequences, including overwhelming fines and jail time.
  • Assault and Injury – In the same Annual Review of Public Health study mentioned above, it is noted that 696,000 individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 have been assaulted by another student who was intoxicated.

In addition to the above-mentioned risks which directly threaten the lives and physical well-being of college students, there are additional educational risks associated with excessive drinking. Students who drink too much or too frequently often have difficulty keeping up with school work, maintaining good grades, and unfortunately, some may even fail out of school as a result.

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Larry Benneth+