The Talk: College Student Drinking
Most colleges and universities forbid students from consuming alcohol, especially those that are under the legal drinking age — 21. Still, administrators also know that these policies are routinely broken, putting imbibers and possibly other students in danger.
College Task Force Study
In a College Task Force report to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) released this month, the group has asked parents to speak with their college-age children before they head off to school this fall. That recommended conversation should discuss the consequences of excessive drinking, what can seriously impact a student’s health and their ability to function while at college.
Specifically, the report explains that a “rapid increase in heavy drinking over a relatively short period of time can contribute to serious difficulties with the transition to college.”
The report also looked at anecdotal evidence that suggests that the first six weeks of the first semester are “critical to academic success.” Because it is during this time that many student begin to partake in heavy drinking during, what can interfere with their transition to college living. Its a difficult transition as it is, with as many as one-third of first-year students dropping out by the end of their freshman year.
The Key to Parental Involvement
So, what steps can parents take? The study advises that they stay involved. This can include learning about campus alcohol policies, calling their daughters and sons frequently, and inquiring about their roommates and living arrangements.
Parents can also reinforce what most college student know full well: that there are legal and financial penalties for underage drinking, and that alcohol use can lead to date rape, violence, and academic failure.
Statistics can sometimes come across as empty and devoid of much meaning. Those same statistics, however, can alert parents to potential problems, and encourage them to discuss the hazards of drinking with their children.
Statistics offered up on the federal government’s college drinking prevention page, reveal that nearly 600,000 young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are injured in alcohol-related accidents, with more than 1,800 dying. Alcohol abuse also leads to assault, sexual abuse, unprotected sex and various health problems.
For some college-age offspring, listening to what their parents have to say is itself a chore. Still, as parents, you have the opportunity to convey critical information, what can help your son or daughter stay out of trouble and succeed at college. If your child does develop an problem with drinking, there may be more behind it than what you see. Students going to college have access to substances that were not as easy to get back home. What this means is a drinking problem could lead to the use of un-prescribed prescriptions, party drugs and opiates. In some serious cases, you may have to step in, have an intervention and end up taking them to an opiate addiction treatment center to get the help they need. College can be a stressful time for a student, learning to deal with it properly will not only benefit them now but in the future.