Are There Preventive Measures for Alcohol Use in College?

Facts show that 40% of college students consume alcohol occasionally. Such behavior is normalized among American students, and although it isn’t consequential, it may lead to the tendency to binge drink.

Binge drinking can be defined as four drinks in one session for women and five drinks in one session for men. Statistics indicate that binge drinking averages have dropped from previous decades, it still causes harm. So what preventative measures can be taken?

Some Facts on College Drinking

Before delving into preventative measures, let’s look at some facts about college drinking:

  • College students are more likely to binge drink, than non college students;
  • Male college students are more likely to binge than female students;
  • The primary reason for binge drinking is to have fun with friends;
  • It may be related to structural abnormalities of the brain; and
  • It may have negative cognitive effects including deficits in memory and poorer attention span.

Some Preventative Measures

Individual intervention strategies may lead to reduced alcohol consumption, especially with those college students who are heavier drinkers, or among those who have suffered some negative consequences, as a result of binge drinking.

Commonly used alcohol prevention and treatment programs are those that target altering individual drinking behavior, and may include programs that focus on

  • Cognitive behavior
  • Education and Awareness
  • Motivation and Feedback
  • Intensive treatment for alcohol dependence

It is not enough to address personal drinking issues with students. University administrators should look into changing the norm within the campus community, which would impact binge drinking behavior. Such a community approach is referred to as the ‘public health perspective’. Some of the people who would typically be involved in such an initiative would be:

  • City Councils
  • College Administrators
  • Dean of Students
  • College Health Professionals
  • Parents
  • College Students

Those college administrators who take charge of the situation and make alcohol issues known publicly, regulate alcohol availability and implement alcohol controls can go a long way towards being successful in preventing the harm caused by binge drinking.

At the start, the main factor in binge drinking can be traced to peer pressure. Once the college student has had a few drinks and their judgment is impaired, they are not able to assess when the limit for safe drinking has been crossed. For those who may have a predisposition towards alcoholism, it go beyond mere impaired judgement and becomes a craving, that lasts into adulthood.

This is why exposing the myth of the ‘glamour of drinking’ at an early stage in college life is important to prevent binge drinking.

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