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Several recently studies have highlighted the damage caused by binge drinking, especially among college students. Defined as a man drinking 5 or more alcoholic beverages in a 2 hour period or a woman drinking 4 or more alcoholic beverages in a 2 hour period, binge drinking has many disastrous consequences.
There have been many recent high profile news stories involving the consequences of binge drinking, including sexual assault and hazing deaths by fraternity groups. While the most notorious might be Brock Turner sexually assaulting a woman behind a dumpster, there have been many recent stories of college students and young adults partaking in drinking games with fatal consequences. For example, in one 2014 drinking game, Neknominate, 5 individuals died from playing.
This drinking game encourages participants who have been selected to drink to outdrink the previous player. Some cocktails of alcoholic beverage contained combinations of other drinks, while others contained goldfish, dead rodents, and dog food. The key component of this game, however, is the acceptance of drinking large amounts of alcohol as fast as possible. The brief, but memorable popularity of the game allowed public officials to recall and speak on the dangers of binge drinking.
A recent CBS article notes that “2,000 college students who die a year” from alcohol-related incidents. Additionally, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism notes in 2013, there were 1,825 college students between 18 and 24 years of age who died due to alcohol-related unintentional injuries.
Yearly, there are roughly 599,000 college students aged 18 to 24 years of age who are unintentionally harmed because of alcohol consumption. Additionally, 696,000 college students are assaulted and 97,000 students are sexually assaulted or raped annually in incidents that involve alcohol. These numbers include binge drinking, which puts college students at greater risks of harmful behaviors and future alcohol use disorders.
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Several factors contribute to college binge drinking. For one, the idea of a high alcohol tolerance being used to prove one’s popularity is a common motivation for high levels of college alcoholism.
The recent CBS news report survey a young college student, who admitted to blacking out after drinking 15 drinks. This later aired in a CBS documentary chronicling binge drinking among college students, additionally citing the students blacking out. The documentary describe how some college students feel at the idea of blacking out. A widespread acceptance of blacking out create relaxed attitudes that ignore consequences and deterrents.
Binge drinking impacts both genders differently. While college-aged men are more likely to binge drink than women, women are more likely to get drunk and blackout faster than men. Additionally, older women are suffering an increase in binge drinking when compared to older male counterparts. This creates a series of problems for women as they can be affected by alcohol-induced violence like aggression or sexual/physical assault. If a woman develops a dependence on or addiction to alcohol, she may have difficulty stopping her alcohol intake, leading to health issues.
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