Drinking and College Students
For many young adults, college is the first time they have been away from the watchful eyes of their parents. It is their first time as rule maker and often the rule breaker. It is the time when having a firm understanding of responsibility and consequences may help students avoid some of the pit falls of underage drinking.
The consequences of excessive and underage drinking affect virtually all college campuses, college communities, and college students, whether they choose to drink or not.
- Death: 1,400 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
- Injury: 500,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol.
- Assault: More than 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
- Sexual Abuse: More than 70,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
- Unsafe Sex: 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex and more than 100,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex.
- Academic Problems: About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.
- Health Problems/Suicide Attempts: More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use.
- Drunk Driving: 2.1 million students between the ages of 18 and 24 drove under the influence of alcohol last year.
- Vandalism: About 11 percent of college student drinkers report that they have damaged property while under the influence of alcohol.
- Property Damage: More than 25 percent of administrators from schools with relatively low drinking levels and over 50 percent from schools with high drinking levels say their campuses have a "moderate" or "major" problem with alcohol-related property damage.
- Police Involvement: About 5 percent of 4-year college students are involved with the police or campus security as a result of their drinking and an estimated 110,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are arrested for an alcohol-related violation such as public drunkenness or driving under the influence.
- Alcohol Abuse and Dependence: 31 percent of college students met criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol abuse and 6 percent for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence in the past 12 months, according to questionnaire-based self-reports about their drinking.
Non-drinking student may suffer assault, injury, death, vandalism or property damage at the hands of a drinking student or group of students. Those who do drink may die from unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes; be arrested for drunk driving or public drunkenness; create academic problems for themselves; be the victim of assault or abuse; suffer health problems and suicide attempts; or become dependent on alcohol.
If you suspect your college-aged son or daughter has a drinking problem, or is being affected by alcohol, it is important to address your concerns and seek help from a medical professional and other type of counselor, such as a religious advisor.