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Excessive Drinking on College Campuses

Excessive Drinking on College Campuses

Excessive Drinking on College Campuses

Last year, a young student at Penn State University died because of excessive drinking at the fraternity house he wanted to join.  His name was Timothy Piazza and his death occurred in February.  In November, Andrew Coffey, a fraternity pledge at Florida State University in Tallahassee, was found unresponsive following a Pi Kappa Phi party. He also died as a result of the excessive drinking that has become commonplace on college campuses – especially among the fraternities and sororities that so many students aspire to join.

Excessive drinking sounds serious, but if you ask a group of students what constitutes excessive drinking, chances are they wouldn’t associate their own behavior as excessive.  If a young lady had four drinks at a party, she probably wouldn’t think that was excessive.  She was just having fun with her sorority sisters.  Right?

Wrong! Binge drinking, as defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, is “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours.”

Excessive drinking – also known as binge drinking – is not something that we can shrug off as a case of ‘kids being kids.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Binge drinking is the most common, costly, and deadly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States.”  

“Fraternity members insist they can take care of themselves,” Toben F. Nelson and Spruha Josh said in an opinion piece for Newsweek. “The evidence suggests that this is not true and it is not reasonable to expect these young people to appropriately manage alcohol at their events. College administrators and prevention professionals have tried developing programs to educate fraternity and sorority members about the risks of excessive drinking.  A recent review of existing scientific studies came to an alarming conclusion: Extant alcohol interventions show limited efficacy in reducing consumption and problems among fraternity and sorority members.  In other words,” they concluded, “what we are currently doing does not work.”

So, where do we go from here?  We cannot stand by and watch as more of students suffer the deleterious effects of binge drinking.  We cannot stand by and watch promising young people die needlessly. We need to provide help and hope to those students already impacted by this epidemic and find ways to prevent the next class of students from walking down the same path. While binge drinking does not necessarily equate with alcoholism, the sooner the problem can be identified and remedied the better – whether that requires a suspension of all fraternities and sororities as was attempted at Florida State or is handled on an individual level with family counseling and perhaps treatment at a reputable detox center in Florida.

“A first step is for all people involved to recognize that alcohol is a dangerous substance,” Nelson and Josh say.  They’re not letting any of us off the hook, either. “All people includes fraternity members, their guests, college administrators, and faculty members,” they spell out. “It also means parents, law enforcement (both on- and off-campus), the general public, and the alcohol industry. Heavy drinking is not simply an expected and necessary part of fun and socializing. Excusing heavy drinking or facilitating it leads to more excessive use and associated problems.”

At Spring Gardens’ Florida alcohol detox center in Tampa, we enable people of all ages to take that all important first step in alcohol treatment detox. We offer a variety of therapies – from music therapy and yoga to individual counseling – designed to provide the support necessary to successfully complete our Florida alcohol detox program.  If you are concerned about a friend or family member who has engaged in excessive drinking, don’t hesitate to call us for information about the problem and about our unique detox center in the Tampa area.

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