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College Drinking

image of college students playing beer pong

Source: Bigstock

High-risk consequences

Excessive and underage drinking affect virtually all college campuses, college communities, and college students, whether they choose to drink or not.

  • Death: 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
  • Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol.
  • Assault: More than 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
  • Sexual abuse: More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
  • Unsafe sex: 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex and more than 100,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex.
  • Academic problems: About 25% of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.
  • Health problems/suicide attempts: More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem and between 1.2% and 1.5% of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use.
  • Drunk driving: 3.36 million students between the ages of 18 and 24 drive under the influence of alcohol.
  • Vandalism: About 11% of college student drinkers report that they have damaged property while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Property damage: More than 25% of administrators from schools with relatively low drinking levels and over 50% from schools with high drinking levels say their campuses have a “moderate” or “major” problem with alcohol-related property damage.
  • Police involvement: About 5% of 4-year college students are involved with the police or campus security as a result of their drinking and an estimated 110,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are arrested for an alcohol-related violation such as public drunkenness or driving under the influence.
  • Alcohol abuse and dependence: Many students come to college with established drinking habits, and the college environment can exacerbate the problem. According to a national survey, almost 60% of college students ages 18–22 drank alcohol in the past month,and almost 2 out of 3 of them engaged in binge drinking during that same timeframe.

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