Many of us in our society associate college with the freedom and joys of drinking. Images of the drunken and naive college students have been broadcasted for decades on TV, movies and social media. I mean, who doesn’t remember the shenanigans of John Belushi on Animal House or the Will Farrell running naked through the streets in Old School? In these fictitious movies, the individuals almost always end up safe and none the worse for the wear.
The reality, however, is drastically different from the images of the big and small screen. While the portrayal of the amount of alcohol consumed on certain campuses is correct, the damages that can result from mixing alcohol with unsupervised college students (often on their own for the first time in their lives) is almost never shown. However, the results can be deadly. Here are just a few statistics that all students (and parents) about to embark on the collegiate journey need to know:
- A startling 90% of acquaintance rapes involve alcohol.
- Between 20-25% of women will experience an actual or attempted rape during their college career.
- About 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
- At least 50% of the college sexual assaults are associated with alcohol use.
- Over 1,800 students die annually from alcohol-related incidents.
- About 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
So, parents and teenagers alike need to be aware of the profound and sometimes dire consequences of drinking on college campuses. Assaults (both physical and sexual) and deaths go hand and hand with drinking on campus. And although you won’t see anything about it on the next rerun of Saved by the Bell: The College Years, it is has become an unavoidable reality for millions of families.
Marc Treitler and his family are the founders and creators of the family addiction education website www.potatoallergy.com and the authors and illustrators of My Dad Is an Alcoholic, What About Me?: A Pre-teen Guide to Conquering Addictive Genes.
Photo: “Cups” by Dean Hochman is licensed under CC BY 2.0
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