The controversial norm of binge drinking in college

College is a time of fun experiences and newfound freedom. Some of those experiences include going to parties and consuming alcohol. It becomes an issue when alcohol is used execessively and leads to unconsciousness. I can’t count how many Snapchat stories I’ve seen of peers drinking a bottle of Ciroc from a party the night before. 

Binge drinking has become an epidemic within college because of the pressures of the college environment. 

By definition, binge drinking is the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. The time frame in which a person drinks is a key factor in binge drinking. 

The problem is, many students play it off as a college norm. We know that it’s true because if it wasn’t, then the phrase “party school” would not exist. 

It has gotten to the point that, whenever I would tell a peer what school I was going to, they would ask if it was a party school before they would ask the location. 

According to a survey from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), approximately two out of every five college students reported binge drinking at least once in the two weeks prior. 

When toxic behavior is normalized through these college norms, it can be harder to identify and treat. 

College can be a stressful time as well as a fun experience, which is why some students resort to binge drinking. AddictionCenter.com states that other reasons for binge drinking are anxiety, insecurity, a desire to fit in and relationship drama. 

What these all have in common, is that they are prevalent throughout life as well as on a college campus. However, these issues are heightened on a college campus because students live with their peers. 

That is why college freshmen are the most susceptible to binge drinking and its consequences. The NIAAA said that the first six weeks of freshman year are a vulnerable time for heavy drinking and alcohol-related consequences because of student expectations and social pressures at the start of the academic year. 

Fraternity hazing ties into the desire-to-fit-in category of why students binge drink. People don’t realize the real consequences of such behavior until it’s too late. 

One example was when Maxwell Gruver, a freshman fraternity pledge at Louisiana State University, died of alcohol poisoning. According to the Washington Post, the pledges were quizzed on fraternity trivia and were told to drink if they answered the questions incorrectly. 

There are many other stories like his and even more that are not related to Greek Life. 

This epidemic can be solved through moderation and education on alcohol consumption. 

There are places at Rider that can help students practice drinking responsibly. Rider’s Substance Abuse Prevention Office helps those who have alcohol related issues, or those who want further education on drinking responsibly. 

Rider Initiative for Substance-Abuse Education (RISE) also helps students and educates them on these issues and personal safety. Don’t let a bottle or a shot glass control your future. 

Tatyanna Carman

Sophomore journalism major

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