To Cheers or not to Cheers

College students living in Morgantown know that the weekends can get pretty wild. Whether you’re walking down High Street with friends to a bar or just going to a house party on Grant Street, you can’t ignore that your classmates are drinking (legally and illegally). An important thing to realize is what alcohol is doing to our health.  According to the Center for Disease Control, one in six adults in the U.S. regularly go on drinking binges. Based on WVU’s long standing ranking on the list of party school’s, you can imagine that alcohol is prominent on our campus. Binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks for women and five or more for men over a short period of time.

In the four years I’ve been at WVU, I’ve seen how common binge drinking is among young adults but no one ever stops someone in the middle of a keg stand and yells, “hey that’s bad for you!” We should drink in moderation, rather than chug until we’re sick. Not to mention, alcohol is expensive over time. I know too many college students who are broke and can’t afford a DUI. Our attitudes are that we’re young, wild, and free so we feel invincible, but people need to consider the long-term effects of drinking such as liver disease or other chronic health problems that could arise later in life. Reading up on statistics may kill your buzz pretty quickly.

Here are some facts concerning binge drinking from the WVU Students’ Center of Health.

  • More than 500,000 full-time students at four-year colleges are injured every year in alcohol-related accidents, and nearly 1,700 die in those accidents (CNN.com, August 18, 2008).
  • Nearly 300,000 of today’s college students who drink excessively will die prematurely of cirrhosis, various cancers, heart disease and other alcohol-related causes (Core Institute, 2005).
  • 159,000 first-year students won’t make it to their sophomore year because of alcohol—or drug-related—problems (Phoenix House, 2008).
  • One night of heavy drinking can limit your ability to understand abstract ideas like textbook reading or a football play for as long as 30 days (Phoenix House, 2008).
  • Alcohol is involved in 95 percent of violent crimes on college campuses and in 90 percent of college rapes (Hingston et al., 2005).
  • Most students spend an average of $900 a year on booze—but only $450 on books. On campuses across the country, that adds up to a cool $5.5 billion—that’s more than students spend on soft drinks, milk, juice, tea, coffee and books combined (Levy et al., 1999).
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