Study shows dangerous drinking behavior on the rise among college students

A new study from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that binge drinking, drunk driving and alcohol-related deaths among college students rose over the past decade.  Among the troubling findings:

  • Alcohol-related deaths among 18- to 24-year-old students increased from 1,440 in 1998 to 1,825 in 2005.
  • The percentage of students who admitted to recently engaging in “episodic drinking” (also known as binge drinking) rose from 42 percent in 1998 to 45 percent in 2005.
  • The percentage of students who admitted to driving drunk in the past year rose from 26.5 percent in 1998 to 29 percent in 2005.
  • The problem behaviors—binge drinking, drunk driving and alcohol-related deaths—rose among 21- to 24-year-old students but not among 18- to 20-year-olds.

According to lead researcher Ralph Higson, the findings are particularly troubling since the trend towards more dangerous drinking behavior has persisted despite improvements in education about alcohol abuse.

“”The fact that we’re not making progress is very concerning,” [Higson said] … “The irony is that during this same time period, our knowledge of what works as far as intervention in this age group has increased. That knowledge isn’t yet being put into place.”

6 Comments on “Study shows dangerous drinking behavior on the rise among college students

  1. Ummm, weren’t there simply a lot more 18-24 year olds around in 2005 than in 1998? According to a quick Google search, there were 20% more kids born in 1985 than in 1976. The numbers they cite are a 26% jump. Add in immigration, and I think you’re not really talking about a higher rate as much as just more kids period.

    The other stats are really not significant changes.

    Of course, this is an institute that gets money only so long as people are frightened about alcohol abuse, so we shouldn’t really be surprised.

  2. Maybe it’s because nobody takes the education seriously when they define binge drinking as four or more drinks in one night. That means most of my friends are binge drinkers (even the ones who drink lightly), my parents are binge drinkers… I can promise you that the 45% of “binge drinkers” on college campuses are not dying, or we would see the population of college campuses halving every year.

  3. Oh, wait. So banning kegs and harsh punitive enforcement isn’t effective? Shocking.

  4. Interesting. Universities have cracked down over the last decade and yet this happens. At the very least, they’ve been ineffective, perhaps there’s even a case to claim (as I did when I was at Georgetown) that these policies are counterproductive. Thankfully Georgetown has avoided most of the really dumb policies (due in large part to an active and informed student body!) like keg bans.

    I agree with “Um”, however, that the statistics look like BS regardless. Gross death numbers aren’t very useful as the population changes in size.

  5. Pingback: Drug News

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