The number of college students who drink and binge drink has remained about the same, but the intensity of excessive drinking and rates of drug abuse have jumped sharply since 1993 according to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University in New York City. A 4-year study of college drug and alcohol use Wasting the Best and the Brightest: Substance Abuse at America's Colleges and Universities, reveals that each month 49 percent of full-time college students, about 3.8 million, binge drink and/or abuse prescription and illegal drugs.  Approximately 1.8 million of those students, 22.9 percent, met the medical criteria for substance abuse and dependence in 2005. An estimated 8.5 percent meet the criteria for substance abuse and dependence, making the proportion almost three times higher for college students in the general population. The report found that there has been no change in the proportion of students who drink (70 compared with 68 percent) and binge drink (40 compared with 40 percent) from 1993 to 2005 despite prevention efforts on campuses over the past several years. The study found that the frequency of excessive drinking has increased sharply, perhaps more disturbing. Students who drink on 10 or more occasions in a month, up 25 percent.

 

College drinking

The proportion of students who binge drink three or more times in the past two weeks is up 16 percent between 1993 and 2001. Students who get drunk at least three times a month, increased 26 percent. Students who "drink to get drunk," rose 21 percent. Consequences of this trend to more extreme substance abuse on college campuses has been costly. According to the CASA report, those consequences include 1,717 deaths from unintentional alcohol-related injuries in 2001, up six percent from 1998. A 21 percent increase from 2001 to 2005 in the average number of alcohol-related arrests per campus. In 2005, alcohol-related arrests accounted for 83 percent of all campus arrests. 97000 students were victims of alcohol-related rape or sexual assaults in 2001. "It's time to get the 'high' out of higher education," said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA's chairman, in a news release. Professors and parents of this college culture of alcohol and other drug abuse is inexcusable under any circumstances acceptance by administrators, trustees. We are losing thousands of our nation's best and brightest to alcohol and drugs, and in the process robbing them and our nation of their promising futures in this  world of fierce global competition. College presidents, deans and trustees have facilitated a college culture of alcohol and drug abuse that is linked to poor student academic performance, depression, anxiety, suicide, property damage, vandalism and fights. These Pontius Pilate presidents and parents, deans, trustees and alumni have become part of the problem by failing to become part of the solution. Their acceptance of a status quo of rampant alcohol and other drug abuse puts the best and the brightest -- and the nation's future -- in harm's way. These are some of the things about college drinking.