This Part 3 of a series on Alcohol on College Campuses. Also in this series:
- Alcohol on College Campuses: A Wake Up Call
- Excessive Drinking On College Campuses Affects The Entire Campus
Peer pressure is one of the top reasons college students drink alcohol. Whether direct – someone offering a student a drink – or indirect – feeling the need to drink at a party – this kind of influence plays a significant role in how students adapt to the college campus environment. As we have shared earlier in this series, the problem with college students and drinking two fold: when drinking leads to impaired behavior and when students who are under the legal age drink.
Studies show that of the students who drink on campus 19% of them admit to binge or excessive drinking and 40% of students on college campuses under the age of 21 admit to drinking alcohol. We think these numbers can be lower if students knew what they were really getting into when it comes to drinking alcohol. So here are 5 myths we’re shedding light on in hopes of showing the truth about underage and excessive drinking on college campuses.
5 Myths College Students Believe About Drinking Alcohol
Myth #1: There’s Nothing Wrong With A Few Drinks
Fact: It only takes two 4 ounce drinks before alcohol starts to impair your focus and behavior. The more you drink, the more you lose the ability to control your actions. Here are a few more facts to consider:
- 2-3 drinks can affect your motor skills for up to 12 to 18 hours after drinking
- For athletes, just 2-3 drinks can affect your endurance levels for up to 48 hours after drinking
Myth #2: Alcohol Is Not A Drug
Fact: Just because it’s legal (for adults 21 or older), doesn’t mean it’s not a drug. In fact, alcohol is the #1 misused drug or substance. Here’s the definition of a drug:
a medicine or other substance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body.
Like all drugs, excessive use of alcohol leads to alcoholism, which is considered drug addiction. Alcohol addiction causes changes in the way your body functions and also impacts your mental and emotional health. People who are addicted to alcohol also experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit, just like people who use other drugs.
Myth #3: It Can’t Be A Party Without Alcohol
Fact: As crazy as it may seem, “Dry” events on campus are fun.
The danger with having alcohol at your event on campus is you can’t control when people have had too much. It’s usually the “out-of-control” ones that turn what was an ordinarily pleasant event into something that leads to trouble including injuries, property damage or something worse like date rape or alcohol poisoning. That’s no fun at all! And let’s not even mention there may be students who are under age at your party and if you are caught drinking or serving alcohol to someone who is not 21, you are committing a crime.
Myth #4: I Will Fit In If I Drink
Fact: Drinking alcohol is not the only way to fit in on campus.
You are in control of your life and your body. When you decide that you will not drink alcohol, stand by your decisions and learn to say no. To make it easier, hang out with people who don’t drink who will support your decision to abstain. It really is okay to say no to alcohol.
Myth #5: Everyone is Doing It
Fact: The truth is 40% of college students drink alcohol on a regular basis.
This means more people are saying no than they are saying yes. And with good reasons. Not only does regular use of alcohol affect your physical health, it also impacts your thinking. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease reports: “Approximately 5% of college students report experiencing poor mental health and this coincides with a high risk for alcohol abuse.” Don’t let alcohol mess with your chances of completing your education. Stand with the 60% who are saying no to alcohol on college campus. You’ll be glad you did.
What do you think? What are some things you wish college students knew about alcohol that could help them be more responsible on campus?