Can we change college binge drinking?

It can be tough sending your kid off to college. They’re finally leaving the nest eager to spread their wings and become adults, whilst getting an education that will hopefully lead to a successful career. Of course you want them to fulfill their potential and make their mark in the world, but as a parent you naturally worry. Are they managing their money; are they studying; making friends; did they remember to eat? Even when your child is officially an adult you still worry about them being safe, wanting them to have a full college experience, but nothing that could endanger them, right?
College is the bridge from adolescent to adulthood. A rich enlightening college experience can shape you for the rest of your life.

Image courtesy of t0zz at

Image courtesy of t0zz at

It can also kill you.

Because, besides learning, we all know that a big part of the college experience (unofficially) is being able to party unsupervised. In fact, some colleges are known primarily just for their partying. And as parents we just roll our eyes and say ‘kids, what are you gonna do?’ Because abusive drinking is now so ingrained in our culture, we really feel there is nothing we can do and it’s just a harmless part of growing up.

Is that right?

Because each year over 1800 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol related causes or injuries.

Are you shocked?
That is a staggering figure. My jaw hit the floor when I first read it. 1800 kids die each year because of alcohol abuse? Did you know that? More importantly, are you ok with it?
How about this for some more scary figures:
696,000 college students per year are assaulted by another intoxicated student
97,000 college students per year are victims of alcohol related sexual assault or rape.

People, we have a crisis on our hands and nobody is paying attention. My eldest son is 14 years away from being a college freshman and these figures are not ok with me. They are horrifying.
I feel a tremendous need to do something.
I would like to begin a conversation with other parents on how we can address this and make college campuses a safer experience for everyone (by the way non-college peer groups have significantly lower rates of abusive drinking and drunk driving).

Although I think alcohol has a place in our culture and we know prohibition doesn’t work. I do believe our attitude and complacency towards abusive drinking needs to change. And it needs to change now.
I don’t believe in prohibition, as I really don’t think it’s the answer. I believe the solution lies in balance, honesty and changing people’s attitudes towards alcohol. Moderate drinking needs to be the norm and if you choose to be alcohol free you should not be treated like a freak.
We have done this before with smoking, eating habits, seatbelt wearing and all manner of behaviors that we eventually found to be unacceptable.
We can do it with alcohol.

I will be exploring this subject further in the coming months and am interested in hearing from anyone who is interested in this subject. Let’s work together to change it.

5 thoughts on “Can we change college binge drinking?

  1. Wendy Blanchard

    Veronica, count me in. Let’s put our heads together and try to formulate a safety plan for these college kids that includes self care, self love, good nutrition , exercise, spirituality, finding balance and enjoying their college experience.

  2. Patrice

    Veronica, I’m horrified at that figure and will offer my heart, soul and head into further investigation. As you know I have two college bound in 2016 and as educated as they are on the subject, they’re still a teen brain. One helpful thing I will add is that they both have passions and they are always busy, they have honestly never wanted to destroy their dreams. So we’ve made it to 17.5 without any interruption BUT next year they are unsupervised with peer pressure. Thanks for always keeping us informed, I love your honest factual writing! Patrice

  3. Veronica Valli Post author

    That figure horrified me as well. It’s just not acceptable. Joe Shrank has some good suggestions. We need to see what is being done nationally and join with that to get this into the public eye. There is still so much complacency about binge drinking.

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