Alcohol is the most widely used substance among American youth. Going to college means the young adults begins to make their own choices, decisions and without their parents around consequence are non-existent. College is a time for personal experimentation in different areas of behavior. Many more youths try alcohol when compared to cigarettes and a huge number start drinking at very young ages.
More than half of the college students that drink consume the alcohol through binge drinking. Binge drinking is a way of drinking alcohol so that it brings the blood alcohol concentration above 0.08 grams percent. It is estimated that two out of every five students have engaged in binge drinking once in the last two weeks. On average a college student drinks fewer times than the non-college student peers, but they tend to drink more heavily.
Death: every year about 1825 students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol unintended injuries such as car crashes.
Every year around 696000 students are assaulted by fellow students that have been drinking.
Close to 97000 students are victims of alcohol related date rape or sexual assault.
Each year 400000 students practice unsafe sex with a quarter being too intoxicated to know if they consented to have sex in the first place.
19%of college students meet the criteria of alcohol dependence but only 5% seek treatment.
Prevention Strategies for Alcohol Abuse
In the light of the harm that could be caused by binge drinking, it is important to look at popular preventative measures. Below are some effective steps that colleges and universities can take to reduce the amount of drinking among students.
- Creating a healthy environment
Environmental factors on campus play an important role in influencing the drinking behaviors of students. They can enforce the age 21 laws within the campus. Conduct interventions so as to correct the misconceptions and change drinking habits as well. Be cautious in making alcohol available in campus since availability leads to increased consumption.
- Use individual and group focused approaches to promote healthy behaviors
Conduct brief motivational interventions by teaching alcohol reduction skills to students. Train those that regularly interact with students to identify potential problems and provide an intervention. Give educational interventions to provide students new information such as the drinking and driving laws.
- Challenge the students’ understanding of alcohol’s effects
Many students in college will drink alcohol because they believe that it makes them more socially and sexually desirable. By helping them understand that this is not the case, but it actually has the opposite effect many students reduce or even stop taking alcohol. By informing students about the negative effects alcohol has on their body can help them make more informed decisions when it comes to alcohol consumption. By understanding what excessive alcohol intake does to their bodies they can choose to limit the amount they drink or stop drinking.
- Restriction on bars
On top of enforcing an age limit, colleges should set some restriction on bars. Studies have shown that alcohol related incidences are more common in an area where drinking specials are advertised. In this light they should limit the proximity of liquor stores and bars close to campus and to each other.