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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What is the "Scope of the Problem"?

Negative Alcohol Culture is not unique to JMU.   Research and data exist that examine the extent of this problem nationwide on college/university campuses.

"National surveys indicate that from 1999 to 2005 ( Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 200, 2002, 2006) the percentage of 18-to 24 - year old college students who drank five or more drinks on an occasion in the previous 30 days increased from 41.7 percent to 45.2 percent, a significant 8 percent proportional increase."

"NIAAA reports have documented that heavy-drinking college students not only place their own health at risk, they jeopardize the well being of others:
  • As many as 46 percent of the 4,553 people killed in 2005 in crashes involving 18- to 24- year old drinking drivers were people other than the drinking driver.
  • Further, a national survey in 2001 indicated that over 690,00 college students that year Nationwide were hit or assaulted by a drinking college student and
  • 97,000 students were the victim of a date rape or assault perpetrated by a drinking college student (Hingson and Zha 2009)
(From "Focus on College Drinking and Related Problems, Vol. 33 Nos. 1 and 2 , 2010,  Magnitude and Prevention of College Drinking and Related Problems, by Ralph Hingson SC.D, M.P.H. , Director, Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Bethesda, Maryland.)

  "The Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study (CAS) is an ongoing survey of more than fifty thousand students at 140 four-year colleges located in forty states.... The participating schools were selected to represent public and private, urban and rural institutions of all sizes and academic competitiveness."

"..we defined the term binge drinking for men as having five or more drinks in a row at least once in the prior two weeks, and for women as having four or more in a row....We classify as "occasional binge drinkers" those students who drank in this manner once or twice in the previous two weeks, and we classify as "frequent binge drinkers" those who drank in this way three or more times in two weeks..."

"...The CAS have established a strong relationship between binge drinking and the number and severity of problems that students face.  For example
  • frequent binge drinkers are seventeen times more likely to miss a class, ten times more likely to vandalize property, and eight times more likely to get hurt or injured as a result of their drinking than are students who drink but do not binge..."
U S Surgeon General David Satcher called this " the most serious public health problem on American college campuses today"

"...One study estimates that fourteen hundred college students aged eighteen to twenty-four are killed each year as a result of drinking.  They die from alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, other unintentional injuries, and alsohol overdoses. At least half a million more students suffer unintentional injury while under the influence..."

"..College students nationally spend $5.5 billion on alcohol each year, more than they spend on soft drinks, tea, milk, juice, coffee, and schoolbooks combined..."

"..Out CAS has determined that two in five college students, including freshman, can be called binge drinkers..." 

  • 73 percent of fraternity and 57 percent of sorority members are binge drinkers.
  • 58 percent of male athletes and 47 percent of female athletes are binge drinkers
  • Frequent binge drinkers constitute less than one-quarter of all students (23 percent) but consume three-quarters (72 percent) of all the alcohol college students drink.
  • A ring of bars and liquor stores surrounds most colleges. At one college we found 185 alcohol outlets within two miles of campus

 (above quotes from: "Dying to Drink: Confronting Binge Drinking on College Campuses, by Henry Wechsler and Bernice Wuethrich, 2002, Rodale Inc)

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