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Alcohol Awareness Month: What Every College Student Should Know

Read up before you turn up

By Tang Nguyen
On April 30, 2016

Photo By Jesús Ramos

Drinking among college students is so common that it has simply become a part of the “college experience.” The kind of college experience where new adults go to these college parties with the expectations of drinking mass amounts of alcohol to build a persona.  

A study conducted in 2005 found that 18 percent of college students suffered from alcohol-related disorders. Other problems that arise from alcohol abuse among college students include driving under the influence, unprotected sex, alcohol poisoning and more.

In order to increase awareness about alcoholism, promote recovery and combat the stigmatization of alcoholism, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence established the month of April as Alcohol Awareness Month.

During the month of April, the NCADD raises awareness of the causes and effects of alcoholism and informs the public of recovery options. The council also evaluates common misunderstandings of alcoholism to acknowledge the social stigma preventing alcoholics, including college students, from seeking help.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about four out of five college students drink alcohol, and half of those consume alcohol by binge drinking.  A 2009 study from the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that 1,825 deaths occurred from unintended alcohol-related injuries for every 100,000 U.S. college students aged 18-24. The 2005 Annual Review of Public Health found that between 1998 and 2001, more than 600,000 students suffered an injury incurred by another a student under the influence of alcohol. Approximately 97,000 students experienced alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

Alcohol abuse can also negatively affect a student’s academic performance. A 2013 study from the International Journal of Preventative Medicine showed that alcohol consumption has negative associations with academic success, both in striving for success and its achievement. Students were found to be more frequent drinkers if they rated their motivation for good grades poorly and felt that their academic performance was inferior compared to their peers.

These drinking habits that college students develop can lead to even more detrimental problems. Alcoholism can lead to several fatal liver diseases. In 2013, 46.4 percent of all liver disease related deaths were a result of excessive drinking.

Factors that influence student drinking include previous experiences, easy access to alcohol, and poorly enforced policies by colleges and states. To address college drinking, colleges should have awareness campaigns to inform students of the effects of drinking and to provide recovery resources to those struggling with alcoholism. Out of the college students who met the criteria for alcohol abuse or dependence, only 5 percent sought treatment for alcohol problems.

The NCADD has a network of affiliates across the country that collaborate to address this public health issue through campaigns and events in local communities. The council teaches the public to be aware of symptoms and how to offer advice to those who may be struggling with alcoholism, including college students.

The month of April is aimed at increasing awareness of the harmful effects of alcohol and providing resources to others who are struggling with alcohol use. Share with your family and friends the damaging effects of alcohol use and how they can seek help. Practice safe drinking and get informed about the resources and opportunities available to learn more about alcohol awareness this month.

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