It’s no surprise that college students drink alcohol and a lot of it. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 4 out of 5 college students drink, and half of those college students binge drink. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines binge drinking as consuming five or more drinks for men or four or more drinks for women on one occasion.
While excessive alcohol consumption might seem like the college thing to do, especially when you’re trying to make new friends or become part of a group, frequent binge drinking can lead to academic and health problems and addiction and increase the risk of injury, violence, unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and death.
Before you head off to college this fall and immerse yourself into the party atmosphere, be aware of the common consequences of binge and college drinking*:
- Death: Each year, 1,825 students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from drunk driving and alcohol-related injuries.
- Injury: Each year, 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are injured while intoxicated, whether from drinking and driving, violent behavior, or alcohol-related accidents.
- Drunk Driving: Each year, 3.36 million students between the ages of 18 and 24 drink and drive. According to an infographic created by Lakeview Health, 110,000 students are arrested each year for drunk driving or public intoxication.
- Assault: Each year, more than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related violence.
- Sexual Assault: Each year, more than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
- Unsafe Sex: Each year, 400,000 students report having had unprotected sex while 100,000 aren’t sure they even consented to sex because they were too intoxicated.
- Unintended Pregnancy/STDs: Unsafe sex can lead to unintended pregnancies as well as HIV and other STDs. According to Lakeview Health, 60% of STDs are transmitted when the partner was drunk and two-thirds of unplanned pregnancies occurred when the woman was intoxicated.
- Academic Problems: About 25% of college students experience academic consequences of drinking alcohol. Common academic problems include missing class, falling behind, poor test performance, and lower grades.
- Health Problems: Each year, over 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem.
- Suicide: 1.2% to 1.5% of college students report having attempted suicide within the past year due to alcohol or drug use.
- Addiction: About 31% of students meet the criteria for an alcohol abuse diagnosis while about 6% meet the criteria for full-on alcohol dependence.
Learn more about college binge drinking and its consequences as well as college drinking prevention at www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov.
*All unattributed statistics are from the NIAAA.