Binge drinking increases among college students - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Binge drinking increases among college students

March 20, 2007

Valdosta - Alcohol flows like water on many college campuses and it appears more students are drinking.

"It use to be that when people binge drink, it would only be Friday and Saturday.  Now it's ladies night on Monday, Sink or Swim Wednesday.  It's all week," say college sophomore Amanda Parsons.

"I just drink.  It's not like I drink by myself.  It's mostly social events," says fellow sophomore Benquetta Stevens.

In reality the number of student drinkers and binge drinkers has remained the same for more than a decade. One thing that has increased, though, is the number of excessive binge drinkers...up almost 30 percent in the last 10 years.

"I think the social setting really lends itself to that behavior," says Mark Williams, the Coodinator for alcohol and other drug education at Valdosta State University.  "I think a lot of students are exposed to things and they experiment and they get out of them often times."

But it may not be that easy.  "A lot of the time drinking with college students is a coping skill.  Once they graduated, those negative coping skills will still be there and over time, not only psychological damage could come from that but physical," says Patty White Cosey, a Professional Counselor at Greenleaf.

Mark Williams and the other drug and alcohol counselors at VSU are hoping to help students put alcohol abuse behind them.  "We have students who do identify it's a bigger issue in their life than they are comfortable with."

They hope schools like VSU who take a proactive approach and offer support will help stamp out the binge drinking epidemic on college campuses.

Colleges and University that don't have support centers to offer students help for alcohol and drug use now have a new tool.

It's called E-CHUG, an internet site currently used at over 300 schools.

It asks students to enter personal information about the amount and frequency they consume alcohol.

They use that information to calculate risk factors they may face, the amount they spend on alcohol, and how their drinking level compares to other students.

They hope this personal feedback will help students reduce the amount of alcohol they drink.

The information entered is also used in many research studies.

Click here to read study conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

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