Campus Binge Drinking: Who’s The Worst?

Despite an influx of preventative programs to combat college binge drinking problems in recent years, it remains a concern on today’s campuses. It’s a shame because students work so hard to finally have the opportunity to go to college, and once they finally get here, too many of them end up spiraling out of control with the freedom they feel for the first time in their lives often leading to bad decisions including excessive partying.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has reported at binge drinking has led to over 1,800 college student deaths annually, typically from drunken driving. Research has also shown that excessive binge drinkers are more likely to take part in risky sex, get injured, miss classes, or have problems focusing in class.

Statistically speaking, 2 out of 5 college students have gone binge drinking at least once in the last two weeks. These statistics may be even higher at colleges in Utah where you would expect them to be lower. In 2013 Utah colleges once again made the top 20 in the list of the biggest party schools put out by the Princeton Review. Despite the numbers, most student drinkers don’t consider the impact their drinking will have on their futures.

Drinking has long been a part of American culture but in colleges in Utah and beyond, just about everything is amplified, from politics to religion and drinking which at times intensifies behavioral problems. In Utah, there’s a belief that they have so many restrictions that at times people turn to drink, and typically drink to excess.

The fact is that colleges all over the country face substance abuse problems including exceptional schools like Salt Lake Community College, Westminster College and Utah State University.

States with the highest binge drinking statistics are located the Midwest, DC and Hawaii with the highest intensity generally being in the Midwest. When it comes to colleges in Wyoming, a recent survey produced by the National College Health Assessment indicate a decline in the amount of University of Wyoming students who binge drink; great news for the state and an important fact for a state that brings in over $2 billion annually in tourism revenue; good PR definitely helps.

Research scientist Rodney Wambean at the university’s Survey and Analysis Center stated that he felt off campus police enforcement and the schools on campus prevention programs more than likely played a part in the reduction. In addition, since most students are juniors when they reach the legal drinking age they typically don’t want to risk their academic success by binge drinking.

All states pay a high cost for extreme alcohol use, including property damage, deaths, increased crime, highway crashes, poor work habits and chronic health problems. Substance abuse, with alcohol being one of the worst, has a devastating impact not just on the abuser but their families, the communities they live in and the economy. According to Tom Frieden, CDC Director, alcohol abuse costs society billions of dollars in health care costs, criminal justice expenses and more. There’s no magic bullet when it comes to addressing the problem but effective prevention programs can help people make better choices when it comes to drinking alcohol from our communities, to colleges in Utah, colleges in Wyoming and beyond.


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