A New Look at Binge Drinking on Campus
"The point of the NIAAA action is to put this issue on a research
track," he says. "We plan to evaluate what we know about binge drinking
and where it happens and then look at prevention and treatment and identify the
things that are most effective and build on them."
Some suggested solutions include banning advertisers from targeting college
students, increasing the cost of alcohol to make it less accessible to
students, enforcing fines for students using fake identification, and
developing peer counseling programs. Beer is already banned on 25% of college
campuses, and 33% do not allow distilled spirits.
"All of us believe that there is no magic potion or defined series of
steps that can transform this issue overnight," says the Rev. Edward
Malloy, president of the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and an
NIAAA panel member. "We need to learn from the experiences of other
campuses, share that information, and be open to reconfiguring how we deal with
the issue," he tells WebMD.
"Binge drinking impedes the quality of education and puts people at risk
and too often establishes a lifetime pattern of abuse and addiction,"
A recent study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
found that heavy drinking during the teen years may cause damage to thinking
abilities. About half of all college binge drinkers start drinking in high
school, Wechsler says.
- Harvard researchers are updating a landmark 1997 study that showed
two-fifths of college students were binge drinkers and one-fifth were frequent
- In response to some highly publicized alcohol-related deaths among college
students, college presidents and scientists are establishing a research program
on the topic.
- Binge drinking is defined as consuming at least five drinks in a row for
men and four drinks in a row for women.