College Binge Drinking Epidemic
Throughout the years, drinking alcohol in excessive amounts has become somewhat synonymous with the college experience. It has become an expected occurrence for college-aged students to drink and party regularly, and overtime has transformed into an accepted social norm of college life. Extreme drinking has been a consistent social problem that has substantially grown on college campuses all around the United States for the past few decades. In fact, binge drinking is consistently voted as the most serious problem on campuses by collegiate presidents (College Binge Drinking Facts). Thus, most campuses have recognized binge drinking as a serious problem, yet this epidemic continues on, and many seem to turn a blind eye toward it. According to Learn-About-Alcoholism.com, 90% of the alcohol consumed by teens is consumed in the form of binge drinking. Binge drinking is a widespread phenomenon on most college campuses, including the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and has harmful and dangerous consequences as well as significant impacts on the goal higher education.
First, it is important to establish a definition for the term ‘binge drinking.’ The National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA) defines binge drinking as “a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 gram-percent or above. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming five or more drinks (male), or four or more drinks (female), in about two hours” (What Colleges Need to Know Now). In essence, binge drinking is the drinking of alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming heavily intoxicated by alcohol over a short period of time. In a nationwide survey, nearly half of all college students (42%) reported binge drinking during the last two weeks. It is obvious that binge drinking is a severe problem on college campuses as almost half of all students engage in this risky activity that leads to unhealthy and negative outcomes.
In this situation, the objective social issue is binge drinking on college campuses around the country, including UMass Amherst. The subjective social problems are all of the various repercussions that binge drinking can result in (Lundquist Lecture January 25). Most college students do not consider these serious risks when they participate in heavy drinking. These consequences include intentional and unintentional injuries, alcohol poisoning, physical and sexual abuses, unprotected sex and sexually transmitted diseases, relationship problems, alcohol addiction, and poor grades. Long-term use of alcohol risks liver damage, pancreatitis, certain cancers, literal shrinkage of the brain, neurological damage, high blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases (Witmer). It is clear there are countless negative effects both physically and mentally, and long-term and short-term caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
There are numerous groups of people who view binge drinking on campuses as problematic. School administrators and the faculty of colleges are concerned with this problem because it tarnishes the reputation of the school, inflicts damage to school property, and injures or even kills students. Parents of these college students also view drinking as problematic, as it is likely they are paying for their children to attend school, and their teens are partying their college years away. Students who do not binge drink on campus but witness the effects of it on their peers and friends are concerned with this problem, and are also greatly affected by the behavior of students who binge drink. Among students who do not binge drink on a given night, 71% have had sleep or study disrupted, 11% had been pushed, hit, or assaulted by the binge drinker, 57% had to spend the majority of their sleep time caring for the intoxicated student, 23% had experienced an unwanted sexual encounter, and 16%...
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