By Kerri-lyn Traves, Vice President
Being a senior in college I think it’s safe to say that I’ve seen a lot of drunk people throughout the past four or so years. It’s expected apparently. In the past thirty days 72% of college students have used alcohol (alcohol101plus.org). This is including students under the age of twenty-one.
But who am I to report to my peers about alcohol? What’s the big deal? You’re in college; you’re going to drink right? Whatever. I don’t believe that’s an issue, I believe it’s an issue when vulnerable, depressed people are going out to feed their feelings. “A new study shows that six percent of college students meet criteria for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence (also referred to as alcoholism), and 31 percent meet the clinical criteria for alcohol abuse. The study found that more than two of every five students report at least one symptom of these conditions, putting them at increased risk of developing a true alcohol disorder (alcoholism.about.com).”
Part of the college experience, many people believe is to go out on the weekends and socially drink with some friends. Again, I’ll say- No big deal. But I have encountered on multiple occasions people who have gone out two or three times in one single weekend, had an entire bottle of vodka or whatever their choice of alcohol is, then proceed to complain about how they are alone in life or are going to be a cat lady (or man) for the rest of their lives. They are usually saying this while slurring their words of course.
I’ve also seen people brought to complete tears while under alcohols influence. Some have had no idea why they were even crying. Some don’t remember it the next day. I’ve seen it all. Including people stripping. Yep, it happens.
So why are these people going out and doing this? Sometimes they’ll say they’ll just go have one, then one turns into two, two turns into three, and so on. Some people can handle it, I’ll admit, but others could be jeopardizing their whole futures. Not to mention others. “Over three million students drive while drunk (ideas.time.com).” This is a scary statistic. You may be thinking, “well I never drive drunk,” but do you know someone who has? Have you ever been at a party and saw someone have a few beers, then drive off and you did nothing about it? Thought so. We’ve all been there.
Every year 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who’s been drinking, sexual assault is at 97,000 students a year. 1,825 students every year in the same age group die by unintentional alcohol related instances (http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov).
So where do we draw the line between having a good time, and becoming dependent on alcohol, or becoming dangerous? Well, it’s hard to say considering everyone has his or her own limits. I will say, no matter how much you’ve had you should never get behind the wheel. But what about all the other scary statistics I’ve mentioned? Sometimes things get out of hand, it happens. But in my opinion I don’t think anyone should every drink while they are in a negative mood. That’s where dependence can creep its way in. I’m not an expert but it’s something to think about. You live and you learn. Maybe you got trashed once and threw up all night and couldn’t remember parts of what happened the night before, take that and learn to go easier next time. Maybe you regret not stopping someone from getting behind the wheel, take that regret and stop him or her next time.
You need to learn from what you’ve seen or done. Don’t turn back to the bottle to solve any problems you have. Look at your life goals and think, “If I take this drink, will it effect me later on?”
If you or someone you know needs help with substance abuse please call 1-800-662-HELP.