Abusive and underage college drinking are significant public health problems.
Although the majority of students come to college with some experience with alcohol, certain aspects of college life, such as unstructured time, the widespread availability of alcohol, inconsistent enforcement of underage drinking laws, and limited interactions with parents and other adults, can intensify the problem. In fact, college students binge drink and drunk drive more than their non-college peers. Whether they drink or not, virtually all college students experience the effects of college drinking.
The Transition to College—A Time of Risk
The first six weeks of freshman year are an especially vulnerable time for heavy drinking and alcohol-related consequences because of student expectations and social pressures. Heavy drinking is highest among fraternity and sorority students, lowest among commuters living at home.
Alcohol Poisoning Among College Students
Thousands of college students end up in emergency rooms each year due to alcohol poisoning, which suppresses the nervous and respiratory systems. Signs include:
- Mental confusion, stupor, coma, or the person cannot be roused
- Slow or irregular breathing
- Hypothermia or low body temperature, bluish or pale skin
Alcohol poisoning can lead to permanent brain damage. If someone shows any of these signs: Don't wait! Call 911.