Fall Semester – A Time for Parents to Discuss the Risks of Drinking Alcohol in College

BETHESDA, MD., August 24, 2021 / PRNewswire / – As students arrive on campus this fall, it’s usually a time of new experiences, new friendships, and making memories that will last a lifetime. Unfortunately for many, it is also a time of harmful and minor alcohol use and dealing with its consequences – from vandalism, sexual assault and other forms of violence to injury and death. In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, it’s especially important this fall for parents to urge students to take action to protect their health.

Source: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, National Institutes of Health. Visit www.niaaa.nih.gov.

Alcohol and COVID-19 don’t mix – urge extra caution on alcohol during pandemic

Alcohol consumption impairs both physical and mental abilities, and also lowers inhibitions. Reducing inhibitions of alcohol use and drunkenness can affect a young person’s ability to take the necessary precautions to reduce the risk of contracting the coronavirus or passing it on to others, such as maintaining a physical distance appropriate and wear a mask. Encourage students to limit their alcohol consumption or that of their friends, and remind underage students not to drink alcohol. Students should also know the steps necessary to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 if schools have resumed in-person or hybrid classes or when participating in activities outside of school. This includes following the daily practices recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for reduce the risk of contracting and spreading coronavirus, as well as follow all guidelines and procedures that have been established by individual colleges and universities.

Rates and consequences of alcohol consumption in college

According to the 2019 National Drug Use and Health Survey (NSDUH), 52.5% of full-time students aged 18-22 drank alcohol in the past month and 33.0% have engaged in binge drinking in the past month. The NSDUH defines binge drinking as 5 or more drinks on one occasion for men and 4 or more drinks on one occasion for women. past month). These rates of binge drinking and binge drinking are both higher than those who don’t go to college.1

The consequences of harmful and minor alcohol consumption by college students are greater, more destructive, and more costly than many parents realize. And these consequences affect students whether they drink or not.

* The NIAAA defines binge drinking as a pattern of alcohol consumption that raises the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent (or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter) or more. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (men) or 4 or more drinks (women), in about 2 hours.

The most recent statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) indicate that alcohol consumption by college students aged 18 to 24 contributes to about 1,519 student deaths each. year.2 In addition, there are approximately 696,000 assaults by students who had been drinking and 97,000 cases of sexual assault or rape by date each year.3

The first weeks are critical

Although some students come to college with some previous alcohol experience, some aspects of college life, such as unstructured time, widespread availability of alcohol, inconsistent enforcement of consumption laws underage drinking, and limited interactions with parents and other adults, can intensify the problem. .

The first 6 weeks of the first year are a vulnerable time for harmful and minor alcohol consumption in college and for alcohol-related consequences due to student expectations and social pressures at the start of the year school. The coronavirus pandemic will create additional stress and uncertainty this fall, so support for students will be essential.

Parents can help

An often overlooked protective factor involves the continued influence of parents during the college years. Research shows that students who abstain from drinking often do so because their parents discussed alcohol use and its negative consequences with them. There are a number of things parents can do to stay involved during these crucial first weeks.

Parents can help by:

Discuss with students the dangers of harmful alcohol use and underage drinking in college, such as possible legal and school penalties for underage drinking, and the risks of alcohol overdose, injury unintentional, violence, risky sexual behavior, school failure and other harmful consequences.

Reach out periodically and keep lines of communication open while remaining alert to possible alcohol-related problems.

Remind students to feel free to contact them to share information about their daily activities and to ask for help if needed.

Learn about the school’s alcohol prevention and emergency response efforts as well as the school’s policies and procedures in place this fall for the coronavirus pandemic. (See “Resources are available” below.)

Make sure students know the signs of an alcohol overdose or alcohol-related problem, and how to help them.

Resources are available

For parents who wish to discuss the consequences of alcohol consumption with their students, a variety of helpful resources are available from the NIAAA at https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov.

These resources include a guide for parents that offers research-based information as well as helpful tips for choosing the right college, staying involved in the first year, and getting help with alcohol-related crises. The website also provides links to alcohol policies at colleges across the country, an interactive diagram of how alcohol affects the human body, and an interactive alcohol cost calculator.

In addition, the NIAAA AIM College -the Collegiate alcohol intervention matrix, available at https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/CollegeAIM —Is a booklet and website that helps schools and parents address harmful and minor alcohol use by identifying effective alcohol interventions.

For more information, please visit: https://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov/

1 SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Table 6.21B – Types of illicit drug, tobacco and alcohol use in the past month among people aged 18 to 22, by college enrollment status and sex: percentages, 2018 and 2019. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/reports/rpt29394/NSDUHDetailedTabs2019/NSDUHDetTabsSect6pe2019.htm#tab6-21b.
Accessed December 8, 2020.
2 Methodology for arriving at the estimates described in Hingson, RW; Zha, W.; and Weitzman, ER Magnitude and Trends in Alcohol-Related Mortality and Morbidity Among US Students Aged 18-24, 1998-2005. Journal of Alcohol and Drug Studies (Suppl. 16): 12-20, 2009. PMID: 19538908.
3 Methodology for arriving at the estimates described in Hingson, R .; Heeren, T .; Winter, M.; et al. Magnitude of alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students aged 18 to 24: changes from 1998 to 2001. Annual public health report 26: 259-279, 2005. PMID: 15760289.



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SOURCE National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

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