Vermont holds symposium on binge drinking

Recognizing the binge drinking epidemic on college campuses throughout the state, the Vermont Department of Health recently sponsored a symposium to address the issue. The symposium included subject matter experts and offered educators the opportunity to share best practices. Vermont’s reported binge drinking and marijuana use rates (at 13 of the state’s colleges) are higher than the national average. 76% of students drink and 53% of students binge drink while 38% reported using marijuana.

Vermont’s commissioner of health, Dr. Harry Chen, noted that Vermont ranks in the top five states for binge drinking. He also conceded that the issue is difficult to tackle, “There’s no way that we’re going to eliminate college drinking…But the state and colleges can encourage [students] to be responsible so they don’t drink and drive, rely on binge drinking to enjoy themselves and put themselves at risk of violence, suicide and sexual assaults.”┬áChen, and the symposium itself, demonstrate a practical approach to curtailing binge drinking, yet the occasion and his comments indicate that moving the needle will be difficult in a culture where “drinking education” is solely peer-to-peer.

2 Responses to “Vermont holds symposium on binge drinking”

  1. Edwin Bonilla Says:

    Young women and young men who smoke Cannabis doesn’t bother me but what does bother me is binge drinking. It’s horrible that over half of college students in Vermont have binge drinked. It’s good that the Vermont Department of Health has sponsored a symposium on this issue. If the drinking age was 18 and if alcohol education was required, then “drinking education” by peers would decrease significantly. The problem with binge drinking is that it has become a part of the culture by many university students. To stop this, alcohol education should be a requirement.

  2. Ajax the Great Says:

    More than half of college students binge drink? Not really, unless you use the 5/4+ drinks definition for a “binge”, which I assume is the one they are using in this article. Using such a low threshold (which may or may not actually be dangerous depending on the context, speed of drinking, and various other factors) trivializes the very real problem of truly dangerous drinking, and may even appear to normalize it, while simultaneously pathologizing statistically normative behavior and thus losing credibility. For example, when a higher threshold (i.e. 10/8+ drinks) is used, we see that 20% of male students and less than 10% of female students engage in such behavior–far less than the 53% figure, and clearly NOT the norm. These are the levels that are likely to lead to catastrophic consequences.

    By the way, the word “symposium” is actually Greek for “drinking together” or “a drinking party”. Look it up.