Unfortunately, binge drinking college parties are very common. Studies show that binge drinking peaks between ages 18 and 22, and binge drinking in college is more common than among people of the same age who do not attend college.
Binge drinking college parties are prevalent for a number of reasons. Many college students begin drinking prior to starting college; studies show that the average boy takes his first drink at age 11, while the average girl takes her first drink at age 13. Of course, not all of these children develop a drinking habit. But many students head to college with a drinking habit firmly established. And teens are more likely to binge drink than to drink in any other fashion. Binge drinking in college is often simply a carry-over from binge drinking in high school.
Advertising plays a big role in binge drinking college parties. Advertisers target college students, even though many are underage. They link parties, sporting events, and other activities with alcohol drinking.
Alcohol is readily available to college students. It is sold in numerous establishments nearby college campuses, and at easily affordable prices. While it is illegal in all 50 states to sell alcohol to minors under the age of 21, one has to wonder if these establishments are checking ID’s, since most college students are under 21 and are still getting alcohol.
Of course there is also peer pressure, which can be considerable at binge drinking college parties. College students are really still adolescents, and as such, very much want to fit in with their peers. Studies also indicate that people in groups are likely to drink much more alcohol than those who drink alone, so binge drinking is more likely at parties.
While binge drinking in college is very common, studies show that many college students wish there was less drinking on campus. They wish alcohol was less available.
However, students overestimate how much other students drink. They believe their peers are drinking more than they really are. This false belief creates a feeling of peer pressure that leads some students to drink even when they don’t want to.
Students should be educated about the many dangers of binge drinking. This education should start prior to college, since binge drinking often starts earlier. Schools are in an excellent position to provide alcohol awareness education, of course, but parents can also play a big role. In fact, studies show that teens whose parents discuss the dangers of alcohol use with them are far less likely to use alcohol then those whose parents do not discuss the issue with them.
Many experts advocate making alcohol less available by having fewer sellers of alcohol near college campuses and by raising the price of alcohol. While this is a somewhat controversial suggestion, it would likely be effective. Establishments that sell alcohol should also maintain strict policies about checking ID’s; the majority of college students are under the legal age to purchase alcohol.
Colleges often have policies about underage drinking, and these should be strictly enforced. Underage students should not be permitted to drink on campus. There must be consequences for those who do, as they are violating both campus policy and the law.
Binge drinking college parties need to be replaced with other activities. Colleges can sponsor other activities, but they can also provide ideas in alcohol awareness classes about other forms of entertainment. As mentioned earlier, many students wish there was less alcohol available on campus, and so are very amenable to alcohol-free activities.