Published September 10, 2012
The “college years...” – for many, reflection on this time engenders thoughts of studying, new-found independence, and burgeoning responsibilities.
Also, for many, reflection on this time includes remembrances of either initiating alcohol use or the escalation of drinking.Research bears out these reflections. Recent data (Velazquez et al., 2011) indicate that approximately 70% of college students report past month alcohol use. This drinking is not without negative consequences – on average, women reported 9 problems and men reported 10 problems occurring during that previous year.
Although national survey data on “binge drinking” (in this case, defined as consuming 5+ standard drinks [see sidebar]) suggest a new low in 2011, over 1/3 of college students – 36% to be exact – report binge drinking during the previous two weeks. The National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as drinking that elevates the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 – typically 5 drinks for men or 4 drinks for women in about two hours.
According to NIAAA’s summary statistics, in the past year:
NIAAA has encouraged institutions to implement a variety of strategies to address college underage and excessive drinking:
A variety of interventions have demonstrated effectiveness or substantial promise for addressing individual college students’ problem drinking as well as the college environment and culture. These interventions, identified by NIAAA, include:
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