A recent MSNBC story brought to light a fact that treatment professionals have long known: 44 percent of college students binge drink. Lesser known is the fact that blackout-related emergency visits caused by binge drinking cost our nation’s healthcare system half a million dollars each year.
This month, nine young adults ended up in a NY hospital for alcohol poisoning. The culprit? A “barstool blackout party” marketed as being “by the C-student, for the C-student.” The goal of the party was to black out–to drink so much that users would be able to walk, talk, drive, and have sex without remembering any of it. Needless to say, this type of binge drinking is a recipe for disaster, particularly in the form of car accidents, unwanted pregnancies, and STDs.
These dangers are particularly worrisome now, as students everywhere are flocking to their spring break vacation spots. “The problem we run into on spring break,” explains Dr. Kevin Kulow of Gulf Coast Medical Center in Florida, “is that people really load up on alcohol very, very quickly before it’s really had a chance to kick in…when it really hits you, it comes on like a ton of bricks.”
Binge drinking among college students has become a widespread public health problem, and as usual, the only possible solutions lie in education, prevention, and public service efforts to reduce heavy drinking–both on and off campus.