Data suggests decline in binge drinking nationwide

Jason Edwards  — Contributor

Sophomore public health major Tyicia Edwards views binge drinking as a vice — affecting her peers at Southern Connecticut State University.

“Friends that I know that have friends that binge drink, they always say that they are stressed, or going through personal issues,” said Edwards. “People need to get their stresses out. I don’t condone it, but I understand why they do it.”

However, binge drinking at parties, in dorms and other college settings are reported to be on the decline nationwide. According to a 2015 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study on alcohol consumption, 17.5 percent of U.S. adults with a college education reported binge drinking — a 1.5 percent decrease from the same study done in 2010.

This data was collected by sampling over 400,000 American adults via telephone surveys, asking four questions about alcohol consumption over the
past 30 days.

Emily Rosenthal, the coordinator of the Wellness Center located at Schwartz Hall, said that binge drinking is less frequent on campus and that the number of incidents relating to binge drinking has been on the decline in the past decade.

Rosenthal said it all comes down to dispelling myths about the college experience, including the factors that go along with those preconceived notions about excessive drinking.

“There is an idea that people are drinking all the time,” said Rosenthal. “The more you believe that the more likely you are to engage in these risky behaviors.”

The Wellness Center also distributes surveys and publishes research, particularly targeted towards first-year students, according to Rosenthal. The data they collect is then used in campuswide advertising, including posters, buttons and t-shirts handed out to students, particularly
those who are new to Southern.

“We are really focusing on first-year students,” said Rosenthal. “They in the first semester of school are at the highest risk for dangerous outcomes associated with alcohol use.”

Rosenthal said that her office’s research shows, similar to the CDC report, a decrease in high-risk alcohol use.

“Young people just aren’t engaging in as risky alcohol behaviors as they have in years past,” said Rosenthal.

A 2018 poll of Southern students on health awareness revealed similar findings to the CDC polling.

Out of the 1,183 respondents, only 12.7 percent of students reported binge drinking more than three times, with binge drinking being defined as five or more drinks in one sitting. Rosenthal said that her polling better reflects the Southern community rather than a large sample of the U.S. population.

“The majority of your peers aren’t binge drinking every week,” said Rosenthal.

Junior nursing majors Emily Goncalves and Alyssa Burek said they have not witnessed binge drinking as much on campus or on the weekends, where parties on properties and houses around Southern serve alcohol frequently to underage students.

“I don’t see it because I am mostly studying on the weekends now,” said Goncalves.

“Kids are still going to do it,” said Burek. “It’s their call.” Even if it is not prevalent to most Southern students, the Wellness Center still said they believe it is important to get the word out about risks associated with alcohol abuse.

“We focus on getting accurate information to students,” said Rosenthal. “So that they can make informed decisions.” Psychology major Naomi Brown, a freshman, said shares similar sentiments when it comes to drinking in excess, it all comes down to judgment.

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