Underage college drinking is a significant health problem in the United States. Often seen as an integral part of one’s higher education, drinking at college has become a ritual. Young adults enrolled full time in college are more likely to report binge or heavy drinking. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 38 percent of college students aged 18-22 years reported binge drinking in the past month, while 12.5 percent students were found indulged in heavy alcohol use in the previous month.
Although the majority of college students have some experience with alcohol, certain aspects of college life including limited interaction with a parent or other senior family members and inconsistent enforcement of underage drinking laws could exacerbate the problem. The misuse of alcohol by college students is associated with poor academic performance, injury, high-risk sexual behavior and date rape instances.
Some universities and colleges in the country have issued strict guidelines to curb the underage alcohol use on campus. To deal with the drinking habits of students, the University of South Florida (USF) has taken a different approach. The USF’s alcohol policy says, “As an open public university, the USF System does not prohibit the legal consumption of alcohol on its campuses. We recognize that as part of a well-planned and structured program, the serving and consumption of alcohol may take place. Therefore, the intent of this policy is to establish guidelines and procedures for the legal and responsible use of alcohol.” While some consider the USF policy on alcohol unique, for others it is outdated.
Students of Florida Southern College historically frequented a bar in the north of campus. A tragic accident in 2016 in which a student was killed led to its closure. While the accident prevented many from frequenting the place, some argued that the incident should serve as a reason for the university to relax its policy regarding campus drinking.
Underage drinking among college students not only affects them, but also their families and the society. The consequences that arise from underage alcohol use are extremely surprising. Students who drink regularly often indulge in erratic behavior that, in turn, may contribute to unintentional injuries, violence and suicide.
A factsheet on college drinking by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) highlights that every year about 696,000 college students (aged 18 to 24) are assaulted by other inebriated students and nearly 97,000 students experience date rape or sexual assault. The data also shows that more than 1,800 college students die from alcohol-related injuries annually. In addition to causing physical harm, underage drinking also affects a student’s academic performance with about one in four reporting poor grades, missing classes and bad performance in exams.
Creating public awareness on the harmful effects of alcohol is one of the most effective ways to combat the growing rates of addiction to this socially accepted drug among students. In an effort to create awareness about alcoholism as a chronic disease, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has declared April as the Alcohol Awareness Month (AAM). This year’s theme, “Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery,” aims to educate people, the youth in particular, about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism.
According to supporters, the reason behind hard alcohol ban on college campus is to help check harmful drinking habits. They further argue that the ban has helped reduce a number of alcohol-related hospitalizations and instances of sexual assault on campus.
As per the critics, with most campus-level bans not including beer and wine, students can have other alcoholic beverages and may frequent off-campus bars and parties. They also argue that a ban in place might also make a sexual assault victim scared of seeking help. According to them, young people will indulge in inebriated activities by whatever means available to them including fake IDs and forgery.
Banning alcohol on campus may seem like a step in the right direction, but the problem is more deep-rooted than a simple ban can address. It can only create an illusion of control and in turn, aggravate the problem by encouraging secrecy and theft among college goers. The crux lies in creating more awareness sessions and on-campus counseling programs that may help the students to speak out their problems as well as seek treatment for their addictive habits. However, the good thing is that alcohol abuse can be treated.
Alcohol addiction treatment at Sovereign Health of Florida provides each patient with a customized treatment plan basis the severity of addiction. In addition to detoxification, alcohol addiction treatment program involves cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as well as individual therapy. As part of alcoholism treatment, we offer special care programs to avoid any relapse. For more information on our treatment programs, please call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-269-2493. Also, chat online with experts to know about our finest alcohol abuse treatment centers near you.
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