This post is the first in a three-part series of Dr. David Anderson’s 3 “R”s to Ending College Binge Drinking.
With the advent of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, it is an opportunity to review, to reflect, and to renew. While some of us might wish that every week was “alcohol awareness week,” this annual event provides a targeted week for doing something different.
It is a week to take stock of where we are, and where we are heading. It is also a time for each of us to make commitments, whether new or renewed, for addressing concerns surrounding college students’ alcohol use or non-use.
In the realm of “review,” several points are important.
First, the percentage of traditional age college students who report not drinking alcohol in the past month is at 32%; this is the good news. However, approximately 40% of college students have consumed five or more drinks at a setting one or more times during the last two weeks – of real concern is that this rate has remained fairly constant over the last three decades.
Second, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that approximately 1,825 college students die every year due to alcohol-related causes, including automobile crashes and other unintentional injuries.
Third, alcohol is involved, more than any other factor, with many of our campuses problems: data from the 2012 College Alcohol survey shows alcohol’s involvement with 57% of residence hall damage, 58% of violent behavior, 32% of suicide risk, 65% of acquaintance rape, 26% of student attrition, and 38% of physical injury. Not only are these numbers high, but they have not changed dramatically over the past 20 years.
This leads us to “reflect,” which we’ll explore in depth tomorrow. Until then, I hope you’ll share in the comments below the commitments you’ve made for addressing concerns around college students’ alcohol use or non-use.
David S. Anderson, Ph.D.
Professor of Education and Human Development
Director, Center for the Advancement of Public Health
College of Education and Human Development