Attending college is typically a young adult’s first venture out into the world without daily parental supervision. While this process is an important step toward independence, college students may experience challenges. Drug and alcohol use in college is prevalent, and the repercussions of high-risk drinking and drug use can be significant. Understanding the risks and how to avoid peer pressure can help college students make positive choices.
What is Binge Drinking?
Drinking and drug use on college campuses is widespread. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates that four out of every five college students drink alcohol to some extent. Of these students consuming alcohol, approximately half of them engage in binge drinking. Binge drinking involves consuming enough alcohol to bring the blood alcohol concentration level to 0.08 or higher. This drinking would involve consuming four drinks in a two-hour period for men and five drinks in this time for women.
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Club Drugs Defined
Club drugs are grouped under the category of psychoactive drugs. Teenagers and young adults who are active in the nightclub scene may encounter these types of drugs. Club drugs affect the central nervous system, causing significant alterations in mood and actions. Some club drugs have FDA approval to treat medical issues; however, using them recreationally is abusive and illegal. Common club drugs include methylenedioxymethamphetamine (“Ecstasy” or “XTC”), ketamine (“special K” or “vitamin K”), methamphetamine (“speed” or “meth”), and lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD or “acid”). Abuse of club drugs can cause significant health issues, especially if college students combine them with alcohol.
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The Dangers of Alcohol Poisoning
Consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short time can lead to alcohol poisoning. The point when a person might reach alcohol poisoning is different for everyone, depending on a person’s physical size and the amount of alcohol a person is accustomed to drinking on a regular basis. A man weighing 160 pounds could reach the alcohol poisoning point after consuming 15 drinks in approximately three or four hours, and a woman weighing 120 pounds could reach that point after nine drinks. Alcohol poisoning is potentially fatal intoxication that could occur when college students play drinking games or engage in hazing escapades.
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Hazing Among College Students
College students may engage in ritualistic drinking activities. These activities may be in connection with initiation or membership in student organizations or groups. Hazing can involve consuming drugs or large amounts of alcohol under coercion or strong pressure by other students. Drinking in these situations can lead to alcohol poisoning. Significant peer pressure among college students can contribute to hazing. If someone who has been drinking a large amount of alcohol passes out and is impossible to rouse, it’s possible that alcohol poisoning has occurred. Other students should respond by calling 911 in this medical emergency to get assistance. It’s also important not to leave someone with alcohol poisoning unattended at any time because choking could occur if the person vomits.
Avoiding Negative Peer Pressure
Negative peer pressure to consume drugs and alcohol can be significant among college students. The social norm among students often involves consumption of alcohol, which can be highly influential with the students. Deviating from the norm can be uncomfortable for students. However, college campuses are attempting to provide positive counter-influences to help students realize that they can engage in other activities that do not involve drinking or drugs. These positive pursuits may include going to a movie, playing sports, volunteering on campus, or shopping. The more students who resist drug and alcohol abuse, the less pervasive the negative peer pressure will be.
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