This past week was a drag, early classes every day, homework every night, but now it’s Friday night and the joy of not having to worry about being somewhere the next day is something to look forward to. This isn’t a typical Friday. There won’t be a movie to catch or dinner to attend, there will a big party around the block. A party where everyone has to BYOB, bring your own beer, and forget about the lousy week.
Drinking alcohol has been a trend throughout the past. Students drink away their school sorrows just in time for Monday to roll around and remind them of their duties. But how much drinking is too much? For some, it isn’t. Flunking out of college, serving jail time, alcohol poisoning, and even death don’t even cross the minds of those willing to take a sip.
The truth is, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 to 24 died from alcohol-related unintentional injuries involving motor vehicle accidents this past year. Whether students drink or not, there are consequences that happen due to excessive and underage drinking around the country. At all college campuses, death is No. 1.
Among other consequences, 599,000 students between the ages of 18 to 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol, 696,000 are assaulted, 97,000 encountered sexual abuse, and 400,000 have been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex. These significant numbers are merely a couple penalties students encounter.
Not only is there physical harm that comes when under the influence, but life changing effects also take place, such as academic problems. About 75 percent of college students report academic consequences due to their drinking, whether it’s skipping class, falling behind, not excelling on exams or papers and receiving lower grades than those who aren’t under the influence.
While the thought of going to that party and “getting with” some girl or guy seems to be important, getting good grades should be above getting wasted. After all, what does getting wasted accomplish? If facing the parentals with news of being thrown out of an expensive college isn’t embarrassing enough, how does waking up on the side of a curb covered in barf sound?
Consider this, alcohol kills and can damage future opportunities, but if this still doesn’t motivate anyone to take caution with their drinking habits, then maybe realizing that alcohol also results in health problems which later can result in suicide attempts should. More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use.
Yes, yes, I know it seems this will never happen in reality, but the numbers don’t lie. These numbers are reality. No one thinks they will die. It is true, some find luck and death never happens, at least not in college, but some aren’t as lucky. It’s not just about death and alcohol, but those who are under the influence act differently than they would if they were sober. Statics show that about 11 percent of student drinkers report they have damaged property. More than 25 percent of administrators from schools with relatively low drinking levels and over 50 percent from schools with high drinking levels say their campuses have a “moderate” or “major” problem with alcohol-related property damage. About five percent of four-year college students are involved with the police or campus security as a result of their drinking and 110,000 students are arrested for an alcohol-related violation such as public drunkenness or driving under the influence.
Telling someone not to drink is like talking to a brick wall. But then again, reviewing these eye opening statics may help someone understand what can happen to a friend, sister, brother, aunt, uncle and college student. The only thing there is to do is to be aware of the consequences and bear in mind that simple question, “how much is too much?”
Statistics from the article can be found in “Snapshot of Annual High-Risk College Drinking Consequences,” on the website College Drinking- Changing the Culture at www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov.
Alejandra Rojas is a senior majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.