Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study (CAS), have ascertained that your college environment could be highly responsible in self indulgence of alcohol and making you binge drink. An analysis of more than 50,000 students in 120 colleges between 1993 and 2001 supports this study. The findings suggest that binge drinking in colleges emanate from a handful of alcohol control policies on campus or the environment that surround you, inadequate implementation of prevalent policies, strong advertising campaigns, an effortless access because of low prices and a potent drinking culture.
The hazardous social and health consequences binge drinking has on drinkers along with their family and friends was the main focus of CAS during its 14 year existence Director Henry Wechsler, lecturer on society, human development and health at Harvard School of Public Health remarked, “Our study drew attention to the heavy drinking of students, most of whom were not considered alcoholics or in need of traditional treatment, but nevertheless experienced problems as a result of their drinking. The five/four drink binge measure is a good indicator of who will experience alcohol-related problems, and more importantly, captures most students who actually experience problems, something measures with higher drink thresholds fail to do.”
CAS explained that binge drinkers could face many complications such as risky driving behavior vandalism, injury, social conflict, academic difficulties, and risky sexual behavior. The study further revealed that on a single occasion males indulging in more than five drinks and females indulging in more than four drinks are likely to suffer from many other problems including tobacco and illicit drug use. Drinkers not only face problems themselves but could also cause nuisance for others in and around the campus. Drinkers thus affect the entire college community.
Research also found that colleges with a good party reputation had a great enrollment ratio as compared to those colleges that forbid alcohol on the campus or house substance free options.Unsupervision of students was also more likely to have a higher rate of binge drinkers. Changing the alcohol culture by refraining easy availabilty on campus and enforcing stricter alcohol control policies seem to be few of the remedies to prevent high consumption of alcohol
The Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study was funded by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study was published in Henry Wechsler & Toben F. Nelson’s, ‘What We Have Learned From the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study: Focusing Attention on College Student Alcohol Consumption and the Environmental Conditions That Promote It’