With the conflicts in Israel escalating, the government’s policy towards Cuba reminiscent of Cold War times and the war on terror seemingly creating a global quagmire with horrific repercussions, I figured it would be a good time to write a column about binge drinking.
A recent task force made up of major heads of universities and sociologists alike released a report on student drinking. They stated that while the percentage of students who abstain from drinking altogether is on the rise, the percentage of students who are binge drinking is also on the rise. This was most prevalent among students aged 18 to 24, and, according to the report, student drinking was the cause of 1,400 deaths last year.
The task force cited factors like MTV’s coverage of spring break, the fraternity lifestyle on many campuses and the abundance of alcohol in college towns as overarching factors in this increase. Dr. Mark Goldman of the University of South Florida asked, “If you walk off a college campus and there are literally hundreds of bars and clubs and retail outlets that advertise and sell drinking, do promotions, what’s going to happen?” However, the real cause of this issue is much simpler than the psychological effects of the media portraying drunken people partying as “cool,” or the peer pressure from fraternal living and society.
The main reason binge drinking has increased is that the definition of what is binge drinking is too low. The FDA classifies binge drinking as having four to five drinks in one sitting; I classify that as breakfast. According to current standards, I have been known to binge drink at least three or four times in one evening. So even if you may not personally drink much, rest assured I am skewing the statistics for you.
If we as a nation are going to focus on this issue as a problem, we should set realistic goals to assess the problem. I have done extensive research on this subject, mostly along the lines of making things up, and I have discovered that if the current definition of binge drinking were raised from five to, say, 18, the percentages would lower drastically.
The task force stated that solving the problem of binge drinking would not be easy. They proposed a five-prong plan mainly involving education and increased awareness of the adverse effects of binge drinking. However, if the definition of binge drinking were raised, the problem would simply cease to exist with no government programs or tax dollars spent. So, as I finish my 17th beer Ii woulldk jus lik ea t eas thaaau …mmmmmmm naaaaachos!
Chris Cassidy is a junior business economics major.