Survey Reveals 157 Student Deaths From Drinking

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Beer GameDrinking alcohol and attending college go hand in hand. At least that is the opinion of some students who equate “having a good time” with getting drunk.

College administrators, most students, and many faculty members know that overdrinking is a problem, but a recent survey by the Associated Press (AP) reveals just how deadly a habit that it is. In fact, when the AP accessed federal records for the years 1999 through 2005, a shocking revelation was made: 157 people literally drank themselves to death during that time. This number cites only those who overdosed on alcohol and doesn’t include deaths from drunk driving, accidents, or other incidents.

Of the 157 deaths, 83 were students who were below the federal drinking age of 21. Clearly illegal, alcohol is widely available at some fraternity and sorority houses, college dorms, and in private housing.

Behind the deaths is a practice of binge drinking where students will chug down beer after beer and/or drink shots of vodka or other alcoholic beverages. The AP survey revealed that many students drank themselves beyond oblivion, as much as five times the .8 limit of intoxication.

Beer Pong and Other Games

Intoxication often takes place as a result of certain drinking games played. Beer pong is one such activity whereby players toss a ping pong ball across a table in an effort to land the ball in one of several cups of beer on the other end. A pair of two-player teams participate, one on each side of a table, and a number of cups are set up on each side. The rules vary according to the game, but when the ball lands in a cup the defending team must drink all of the beer in that cup. Eventually, all of the beer on site is consumed (often quickly) which contributes to alcohol poisoning.

College and universities are trying to stop this behavior by reaching incoming freshmen and warning them about the hazards of binge drinking. Some schools have designated professors to intervene and by passing laws to forbid this practice. Of course, if students are already breaking the law by drinking before they are 21, will these new laws be able to stop the practice of drinking oneself to death?

Further Reading

AP: College students drink selves to death
Officials hope to lessen college drinking problems

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