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NIAAA: Drinking risks should be discussed with college students early on in semester

Posted On Tue, August 20, 2013

With drinking being a common component of college life on many campuses - oftentimes to an excessive degree - the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is calling on parents to have a conversation with their university-bound students about risks associated with the activity.

Statistics from the NIAAA reveal the enormity of the issue. Based on recent estimates, each year in the U.S., there are nearly 600,000 injuries, and 696,000 assaults among college students between 18 and 24 years of age - all of which are attributable to drunkenness.

Warnings especially important for college freshman
It's in the first few weeks of class beginning that the proper tone needs to be established, according to the NIAAA. This is particularly true for college freshman. Studies indicate that people who don't intend to go to college after graduating from high school tend to drink more than those who have made plans to go. However, once these high school graduates become collegians, they typically consume more alcohol than those who opted not to pursue higher education.

According to NIAAA experts, there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that within the first six weeks of college, students make formative decisions about whether they intend to take part in the drinking lifestyle or devote their time to academic performance.

"Because many students initiate heavy drinking during this time, the potential exists for excessive alcohol consumption to interfere with successful adaptation to campus life," NIAAA researchers said. "The transition to college is often difficult, and about one-third of first-year students fail to enroll for their second year."

Website can offer ideas
The NIAAA has made a variety of resources available for parents who would like to better inform their young adults about the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption. This includes a website that was established by its task force, with plenty of researched-based information on how alcohol-related issues can be avoided.

College also presents the issue of drunken driving, which students were likely first made aware of when they were in high school. While the consequences of getting behind the wheel in an impaired state are many, they can also have various auto insurance rates repercussions, depending on the insurer and the details of the incident.

According to a recent poll performed by drunk driving awareness organization Mothers Against Drunk Driving, roughly 30 percent of college students drive under the influence of alcohol.

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