As college students arrive on campus this fall, it’s a time of new experiences, new friendships, and making memories that will last a lifetime.
Unfortunately for many, it is also a time of excessive drinking and dealing with its aftermath – vandalism, violence, sexual aggression, and even death, according to the federal government’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
According to research summarized in NIAAA’s College Drinking Task Force Report, the consequences of excessive drinking by college students are more significant, more destructive, and more costly than many parents realize. And these consequences affect students whether or not they drink.
Statistics from this report, which were updated this year, indicate that
drinking by college students aged 18 to 24 contributes to an estimated 1,700 student deaths, 599,000 injuries, and 97,000 cases of sexual assault or date rape each year.
As the fall semester begins, parents can reportedly use this important time to help prepare their college-age sons and daughters by talking with them about the consequences of excessive drinking.
Some first-year students who live on campus may be at particular risk for alcohol misuse. During their high school years, those who go on to college reportedly tend to drink less than their non-college-bound classmates. However, during subsequent years, the heavy drinking rates of college students surpass those of their non-college peers.
A special guide for parents offers research-based information including
the need to stay involved during freshman year and how to get assistance if faced with an alcohol-related crisis.
The Task Force’s Web site, http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov, features this guide along with links to alcohol policies at colleges across the country, an interactive diagram of the human body and how alcohol affects it, an interactive alcohol cost calculator, and the full text of all Task Force materials.
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