According to the website College Drinking Prevention, the consequences of binge drinking affect virtually all colleges and college students.
One of the most dangerous of those consequences: more than 3 million students get behind the wheel after drinking every year – causing thousands of injuries and deaths in auto accidents in Syracuse and nationally.
Now that school is back in session, the problem of binge drink confronts educators. Colleges are exploring new ways to tackle the problem.
One tactic is to limit or restrict alcohol advertising, especially on billboards, buses and in other public areas. The idea is that young people will be less likely to drink if they are not bombarded with messages that encourage them to do so.
Binge Drinking on New York Campuses
Binge drinking is the most widespread form of excessive alcohol use in the U.S., according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. By definition, it’s a pattern of imbibing alcohol that raises the drinker’s blood alcohol level to 0.08 percent or higher. This generally happens when men drink five or more alcoholic beverages and women have four or more drinks in a span of two hours.
Here are some other facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on underage and binge drinking:
- Most people who engage in binge drinking are not alcoholics.
- Binge drinking is a more common problem in households in which people earn $75,000 or more a year.
- Male students are twice as likely to binge drink then female students.
- Among adults who drink to excess, nine out of 10 report binge drinking in the past 30 days.
- Drinking excessively increases the likelihood of unsafe sex, missed classes and school drop-outs.
- Up to 2,000 college students die from alcohol-related car crashes and other accidents each year.
- Binge drinking is linked to a range of health issues, including accidental falls, assaults, alcohol poisoning, elevated blood pressure, disease of the liver, nerve damage and suicide.
New Strategies to Solve the Problem
Some health experts say the old ways of warning young people of binge drinking dangers are not working. So they are trying new methods to combat the problem.
In addition to controlling alcohol advertising, here are some of those methods:
- Responsible beverage service programs. These teach businesses and individual who serve alcohol how to avoid sales to minors and intoxicated people.
- Media campaigns, media advocacy and counter-advertising;
- Enforcement of laws against buying alcohol for minors;
- Prohibitions on alcohol use at community events and in public areas (county fairs, parks and beaches, for example) that are popular spots for young people;
- Controls on hours of sale;
- Community sponsorship of alcohol-free activities for youth;
- Keg registration laws;
- Making businesses that sell alcohol liable for the harm caused by their underage or intoxicated patrons.
People who are injured in an accident caused by an impaired driver may have a right to sue for financial compensation.
What Do You Think?
Do you believe controlling alcohol advertisements or holding bars liable for serving underage patrons would reduce binge drinking in your community? Do you have other ideas on curbing campus drinking? Send us your comments.