Binge drinking is the action of consuming alcohol at quick and high levels on select few days a week. Binge drinking is common among under-aged students and young adults. It is common to binge drink at a young age due to limited chances of consuming alcohol (because it is illegal), limited responsibilities, and reduced free time. Young adults often binge drink on weekend evenings as a way to blow off steam from the week. These individuals are under an immense amount of pressure as a result of school, parents, sports, and society in general. Binge drinking reaches new and even more dangerous levels when young adults reach college campuses. Binge drinking is still prevalent on Indiana Campuses because large university campuses have a climate that encourages dangerous drinking habits.

Reduced Drinking Age

Several professionals have argued that the rise in binge drinking started a few decades ago when the legal drinking age was raised to twenty-one. The argument states that alcohol consumption has been forced underground. Now that young adults cannot go out and drink alcohol legally they consume it quickly and whenever they can. Since it is now illegal for them to drink they have to do so in ‘secret’, which drives them to increase the consumption to make up for not being able to do so out in the open.

First Freedom Freshmen Year

Studies and surveys have shown that the majority of binge drinking occurs within the first six weeks of college. For many it is their first taste of freedom. They are no longing under the scrutiny of their parents. As a result they let loose with vigor. That first few weeks students are not under pressure from classes, are free from parents, and most do not have any lingering responsibilities. This creates a perfect storm for wild and dangerous drinking habits. Many of these students are fairly new to drinking and are unaware of the dangers. Those that have consumed alcohol previously in high school did so in secret. When they reach college the gates are open and everyone is encouraging it.

Normalization

Most students agree that they do not set out to binge drink, but the atmosphere of college encourages it. University social life starts and begins with celebrations. Greek life is portrayed in every outlet as a party scene. These parties, concerts, and formals are all surrounded by drinking. At large universities like Indiana University the sports programs are huge and standing around without a drink in hand can make you feel lonely. The college atmosphere has created a mind frame for students to make them believe they are outside the law. They feel safe because everyone around them is doing it.

Large Universities

Large universities are so big they are practically their own towns. It is very difficult to monitor or limit excessive drinking with limited resources to enforce rules. History shows that strict rules against drinking or just hard alcohol consumption can backfire. There have been several reported cases of students over-consuming before events having to be hospitalized from alcohol poisoning. These larger Universities have huge and important athletic programs that only encourage more problematic drinking habits. Binge drinking is incredibly dangerous. Many people have been seriously injured for binge drinking and have been the cause of too many fatalities. The atmosphere for drinking in college is not going to go away, but more responsible drinking habits can help keep students out of the hospital. Better education on drinking habits and the dangers of problematic drinking can help to secure the safety of Indiana college students.

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