Drinking spikes in first weeks of class

According to a recent study, colleges see a spike in dangerous drinking at the beginning of the school year. As freshman start their college careers and upperclassmen return to campus, nervousness, excitement, and [short lived] lighter workloads provide plenty of time for binge drinking. Freshmen particularly fall prey to this dangerous cocktail of emotions; they are anxious and excited about coming to campus, yet they have never experienced the level of freedom and the availaibilty of alcohol that a college campus presents. Having never been taught–or been able to be taught–how to drink responsibly results in unnecessary hospital visits.

The Orlando Sentinel reported on this beginning-of-year behavior and cited research by Michael Cleveland, researcher at Penn State’s Prevention Research Center. Apparently, irresponsible drinking occurs costs colleges thousands of dollars annually,

For each college with 40,000 or more students, emergency room visits for alcohol-related blackouts cost about $500,000 a year, according to an April report in Health Affairs, an international health policy journal.

The University of Central Florida is no exception to these costs, according to the Orlando Sentinel,

At UCF last year, 679 students were cited for alcohol violations, 49 were taken to the hospital for excessive drinking, and 29 were arrested for drinking and driving, according to university records. UCF has an enrollment of 59,000 students.

Inexperience and excitement, according to the article, plague colleges at the beginning of the school year and offer parents and administrators reason to worry.

One Response to “Drinking spikes in first weeks of class”

  1. Edwin Bonilla Says:

    Young women and young men who are in college should treat the beginning of the academic year like the rest of the academic year. If the drinking age was lowered to 18 with better laws to enforce alcohol responsibility, there would be significantly less binge drinking in colleges. There would also be less emergency room visits because of that reason. A solution for colleges is that drinking alcohol should be banned for the first month of the academic year because students are not used to the change yet. An exception should be for bars and restaurants on college campuses. With that rule, drinking would be better controlled. At the end of the long month ban, students would feel normal about college. This would work better with a drinking age of 18.