Binge Drinking on America’s Campuses

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Binge drinking is rampant on today’s colleges and university campuses. Binge drinking is defined as, five or more drinks for a man at any one time, four or more drinks for a woman (Thompson, J.J. 63). A recent survey revealed that almost half of college students engage in binge drinking, and half of those who binge drink do so regularly (McCormick, John; Kalb, Claudia 89). It is not the half that drinks responsibly that needs programs targeting them; it is the other half of students that engage in binge drinking. This paper aims to discuss both the scope of binge drinking on the campuses of America’s colleges and universities and techniques used to combat it.

At the same time America has managed to keep the same percentage of its students from drinking entirely for the last five years, binge drinking has been on the rise (Thompson, J.J. 63). While 49 percent of college students binge, only 28 percent of their non-college counterparts do (McCormick, John; Kalb, Claudia 89), clearly illustrating the divide that exists between students and non-students. These figures are upsetting in that one would expect universities to be the breeding ground for new leaders and innovative thinkers in society while these figures make today’s college campuses look like nothing more than National Lampoon’s Animal House- a drunken debauchery.

Consider these facts: For women, this study found that 80% of sorority house residents had binged during the last 2 weeks prior to this study compared with 58% of non-resident sorority women, and 35% of non-Greek women. As for the men, the study found that during the previous two weeks, 86% of fraternity house residents had binged compared to 71% of non-resident fraternity men and 45% for non-Greek men (Core Institute pars. 1-2). If there has ever been a clearer cut case for reformation of the Greek system, it has never been presented. This problem was tragically brought to light in 1996 with the media attention given to the death of a Louisiana State University student who died in the fraternity house from acute alcohol poisoning. Tragically, the numbers of students dying of alcohol related causes are rising steadily each year.

With the ever increasing costs of higher education, one would think that students would be committed to gaining the best education possible; but a 1996 study leaves little doubt that a student’s GPA ...

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Colleges and Drinking. CNN Online. February 23, 1999.

New Study Finds Bingeing. Core Institute. September 1, 1999.

Drugs- Indiana University. Indiana University. February 23, 1999.

Iowa State Daily. February 2, 1999.

LA Times Website. February 28, 1999.

McCormick, John; Kalb, Claudia. “Bellying Up to the Bar; binge drinking remains a major problem on many college campuses, according to a Harvard University study.” Newsweek 21 September 1998: 89.

New UNC Initiave. February 28, 1999.

Thompson, J.J. “Plugging the Kegs: students benefit when colleges limit excessive drinking; alcohol abuse by college students.” US News & World Report January 1998: 63.

Internet Sources Consulted

Wechsler, Henry PhD. Binge Drinking on America’s College Campuses. Harvard
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