With the departure of summer and the entrance of fall, many students look forward to cooler weather, weekend sports and get-togethers with friends. But with school back in session, and studying not exactly the first thing on many students’ minds, weekend socializing can get more than a little bit out of hand.
Whether hanging out drinking beer with their buddies or stocking up on the hard stuff for a weekend of partying and fun, college students often don’t recognize the risk they take when drinking to the extreme. But the sobering fact is, the more they imbibe, the more likely they are to suffer alcohol-related accidents or injuries.
That’s hard for parents to hear. After all, we worry about our kids and the lives they lead once they leave home. We were young once too, and we know how vulnerable young adults are to the influence of their peers.
For families with a history of alcoholism or other addictive behaviors, we know our kids are more susceptible than others. For some, that bend toward addiction leads to risky activities that result in a natural, adrenaline high, like skydiving, snowboarding or repelling.
But for others, extreme drinking becomes the norm, offering escape from the uncertainty of life, boredom and a thousand other issues that concern kids that age.
All too often, extreme drinking takes over students’ lives to the point that some drop out—or get kicked out—of school altogether.
But how much is too much? Doesn’t that depend on the person and individual tolerance?
Not necessarily. According to WebMD, 20 percent of college men—or one in five—admits to drinking 10 or more drinks at least one day a week. 10 percent of collegiate women reports drinking eight or more drinks during the same time period. That’s more than enough for anyone, exceeding even the threshold for “binge” drinking of five drinks per day for men and four for women.
Worse yet, research shows that each incident of extreme drinking increases a male student’s likelihood of suffering alcohol-related injury by 19 percent. For female students, that same risk caused their chances of getting injured to climb by 10 percent. That means students are more likely to have car accidents, trip and fall or have one of a thousand other types of accident with each drink they take.
What’s the solution? Whether consuming beer or liquor, students should think ahead and take precautions when they choose to imbibe. We recommend setting a drinking limit—and asking a friend to hold them accountable, avoiding parties and other situations where they’ll be tempted to overdo it, and volunteering to be the designated driver for a group of friends.
The college years are a time of growing, learning and experiencing new things. But they can also be times when bad habits get ingrained in young peoples’ lives.
So let’s set an example against extreme drinking and teach our kids to drink only in moderation. Hopefully, they’ll remember our advice when we’re not around—and stay safe for years to come.