Alcohol abuse is not just a law enforcement problem; it is a problem that everyone in the community must address. The first step is to understand how alcohol abuse impacts students both emotionally and physically.
A 14-year study of 120 college campuses and almost 50,000 students conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health found that alcohol abuse is prominent on college campuses, with 44% of students attending 4-year colleges reporting drinking at the binge level or greater. Binge drinking, which by definition is at least five drinks in a row per occasion for males and four drinks for females, is particularly problematic on many campuses. 48% of students report that drinking to get drunk is an important reason for drinking.
According to both this study and studies conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the physical, legal, and emotional consequences for students who abuse alcohol are staggering. They include the following:
- 17 times more likely to miss a class, 10 times more likely to vandalize property, and eight times more likely to get hurt or injured as a result of their drinking.
- NIAA estimates that 1,700 college students ages 18-24 die each year from alcohol–related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
- Two in three college presidents consider binge drinking a problem and are looking for ways to combat it.
- About 10 percent of female students who are frequent binge drinkers report being raped or subjected to nonconsensual sex, compared to only three percent of female students who do not binge drink.