Tuesday, June 18, 2024

US college binge-drinking rate ‘growing’

Every weekend, some of the Plattsburgh State student population take part in consuming large amounts of alcohol in what some would call a short period of time. This phenomenon, better known as binge drinking, with a growing rate of participation among college students nationwide, has become a concern, according to a New York Times article.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as consuming about four to five drinks in a period of two hours. This causes a person’s blood alcohol concentration levels to increase rapidly, endangering the body.

“It’s clinically proven that one glass of wine a day is actually good for your system,” junior nursing major and deFredenburgh Hall Resident Assistant Laurel Colvin said. “But continuously taking in the large amounts of alcohol that come with binge drinking is harmful because your body doesn’t have a chance to recover.”

Colvin said excess amounts of alcohol mostly affect the liver. However, binge drinking can attack many other parts of the body such as the kidneys, heart, brain, and respiratory tract.

With her experience as being an RA, Colvin said she has seen the effect that binge drinking has on PSUC students.

She said she recalls many times being on duty and finding students vomiting in the foyer and collapsing unconscious — all of these were the result of binge drinking.

“Once a student starts aspirating, then it becomes a choking hazard,” Colvin said. “It can then literally kill you.”

Even though the dangers of binge drinking are evident in cases such as the one Colvin experienced, students across the nation still do it.

More than 90 percent of all alcohol consumed by underage drinkers is done so from binge drinking, according to chooseresponsibility.org, a nonprofit organization focused on raising alcoholism awareness.

“It’s not like you go out with your friends and say, ‘let’s binge-drink,’” PSUC sophomore nursing major Natalie Zimmerman said. “Unfortunately, it’s just become how people socially drink now.”

PSUC Alcohol and Other Drug Educator Janis Krug said she talks to students after they have been given a judicial review for incidents of heavy drinking. Taking what she has heard from these students, Krug has learned why they take part in binge drinking.

“Most of the time people do it because they’re celebrating. Other times it’s because they’ve had a rough day or week, and they use these as excuses to drink so heavily,” Krug said. “But when I talk to these kids, I try to look at the bigger picture, to see if there are deeper problems that are causing their behavior.”

Krug said she also offers many outlets in which all students can educate themselves on the dangers of alcohol abuse. She speaks at summer orientations, offers general outreach programs and presents to courses throughout the semester.

“My role can be scary just because you don’t know what will happen on any given day,” Krug said. “I think if I can talk to these kids and offer them help, then that’s better than nothing.”

Email Kevin Morley at kevin.morley@cardinalpointsonline.com

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