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College Partying: Binge Drinking

It is the time of year when many students are heading to college, to learn...and to party. Drinking at college is hardly new, but binge drinking, defined as 5 or more drinks in a row by men and 4 or more drinks in a row by women, has become a huge problem on college campuses as well as in general nationwide. According to the CDC, 90% of the alcohol consumed by those under 21 years of age is in the form of binge drinking.

Binge drinking is not just social drinking, and it can lead to many dangerous situations and health problems. Binge drinking is associated with unintentional injuries such as car crashes, falls, burns, and drowning. Some binge drinkers become violent, causing intentional injuries such as firearm injuries, sexual assault, and domestic violence incidents. Binge drinkers can engage in behaviors that they would not normally, often leading to STDs and unwanted pregnancies. Even the very act of binge drinking can be lethal, since putting so much alcohol into your body in a short period of time can cause alcohol poisoning.

Because binge drinking results in such huge costs to society in terms of accidents, violence, and health problems, communities are trying to address the problem at many levels. One obvious way is to enforce the existing laws against underage drinking, and against drinking and driving. Another way is to restrict access to alcohol to underage drinkers by better enforcement of the law, and to legal drinkers by limiting the number of retail establishments per town. A third method is intervention and treatment.

It's important to speak with your kids before they return to college. As we've discussed in other articles, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of a cure. For more information on binge drinking and how to combat it, contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Thomas Law Firm
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