That Will Make You Drink Responsibly
Embedded in the minds of rising college students is an image of university life that is oriented around alcohol consumption. Whether covertly snuck into dorm rooms, a bar located in close proximity to campus, or in a fraternity house, our students have incorporated weekend binge drinking into their lifestyles. While college is indeed a time when most young adults are creating themselves by engaging in a multitude of activities, we must consider the consequences of the prominence of heavy drinking as one of those activities.
ALCOHOL ABUSE ON CAMPUS
Between 1993 and 2001, 18-20-year-olds indicated a 56 percent increase in the rate of heavy drinking, according to an article by The Atlantic. Underage drinking takes the lives of more than 1,825 college students each year; even more alarming, 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
Both state and federal laws prohibiting individuals under the age of 21 to consume alcohol have seldom had a mollifying affect. It is clear that preemptive measures must be undertaken to address this prevalent concern that has put the lives and health of our college students in jeopardy. Resolving a pervasive problem that has led to assault, sexual abuse, suicide attempts, and the utter demise of too many young students is no simple task, particularly in a society that has accepted underage drinking as a norm.
When young people leave home for the first time, they often consider themselves invincible, believing that their actions will not result in any harmful consequence. The precarious nature of this widespread ideology has tremendous implications. Excessive drinking has become so deeply rooted in the college environment that many students feel compelled to drink simply because their peers do. When promoting interventions between the college and community, campus and community leaders are more likely to collectively address the issue comprehensively. The joint activities that typically result help produce policy and enforcement reforms that affect the entire drinking environment.
College administrators, however, should be advised to develop prevention programs that do not presume that every decision college students make has been thoroughly considered before being acted upon. Given this nation’s recent rise in alcohol-related abuses on college campuses, there would be no better time to initiate such change. If we wait, and the mentality of our college students continues to “thrive” on alcohol for entertainment, emotional escape, and social interaction, we will have failed to inspire a moral compass, responsible behavior, and tragically, save thousands of lives. No time is more crucial to act than now, to ensure the health and prosperity of our college students.