Navigation Links
Binge Drinking Puts the Brain, and Life Itself, at Risk
Date:11/7/2009

Colleges fight back to stem a growing problem across the U.S.

SATURDAY, Nov. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly half of students at four-year colleges do it regularly (and, it's not sex).

Rather, it's binge drinking -- downing five or more alcoholic drinks at a sitting.

"People have a hard time identifying alcohol as a drug," said Jenny Hwang, associate dean of students and director of the counseling center at Stony Brook University on Long Island, N.Y. In fact, she said, heavy drinking is glamorized as a rite of passage in college years.

But it's a dangerous rite.

The death toll from alcohol has been rising among U.S. college students. According to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol-related deaths have increased in this group from 1,440 in 1998 to 1,825 less than a decade later, in 2005.

Even if the binge drinking doesn't result in death, Hwang and others emphasize, the risks can be great. In a study published in April, researchers from San Diego reported that young people who binge drink can seriously damage the white matter in their brain, which is crucial for relaying information between brain cells.

Though damage to white matter has long been observed in the brains of adult alcoholics, the researchers expressed surprise at seeing it in young drinkers.

Because of such dangers and the rising death toll, Hwang and other college officials across the United States have taken action, putting into place peer programs and educational outreach to try to stem the tide of drinking-related hazards.

College officials also have begun to reach out to bars near their campuses to enlist their help in the effort. Parents of college students can help as well, experts said, by making sure their college-age offspring are aware of the dangers and don't become a statistic.

"You want to try to reach students before they get to a state where they are in an emergency, such as an alcoholic overdose," said Shirley Haberman, director of GatorWell Health Promotion Services at the University of Florida, in Gainesville.

Her department tries to be proactive, she said, getting the word out that binge drinking is risky drinking and letting students know how to help when fellow students might need emergency care. New students, she said, are given a brochure developed by the alcohol industry that encourages responsible drinking.

In the surrounding community, Haberman said, the city council has worked to encourage bars and taverns to be responsible by ensuring, for instance, that patrons are 21 or older.

At Stony Brook, it took a tragedy to inspire an anti-binge-drinking program. The college-age son of a long-time faculty member died of acute alcohol poisoning while attending a university in the Midwest. This past spring, Hwang and others created a peer-training program that teaches students to recognize dangerous symptoms of intoxication and to call 911 when needed.

Students who complete the four-hour program, which also includes CPR training, learn that letting those who are drunk and passed out sleep it off is not the safe or wise thing to do, Hwang said. It's called the Red Watch Band Program because those who complete it are given a red watch to wear to show they are part of the program.

Among the students who've signed up for the program so farm, "many of them are concerned about their friends," Hwang said. Some have called 911, and others have distracted friends headed to a party where heavy drinking was expected by suggesting alternate activities.

More than 20 other colleges are planning to launch the program, she said.

How can parents help? For starters, don't share your own war stories of college drinking, Hwang urged. Parents can also discuss the legal problems associated with underage drinking and encourage their offspring to look out for their friends.

Also keep an ear out when visiting colleges, she added.

"When parents shop around for colleges, they really should be able to find out what kind of policies, practices [each has] to address the national problem of alcohol," Hwang said. And if college officials claim there is not problem? "I would say they are not being fully honest," she said.

More information

The Center for Science in the Public Interest has more information on binge drinking on college campuses.



SOURCES: Shirley Haberman, Ph.D., director, GatorWell Health Promotion Services, University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.; Jenny Hwang, Ph.D., associate dean, students, and director, university counseling center, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, N.Y.; April 22, 2009, Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, online; Center for Science in the Public Interest, December 2008, Binge Drinking on College Campuses


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Binge Drinking May Encourage Infection
2. Rate of teen binge drinking cut more than 1/3 by prevention system
3. Thin Thighs Might Be Harbinger of Heart Disease
4. Driving After Binge Drinking More Common Than Believed
5. Pot Might Blunt Damage of Binge Drinking
6. Yoga Therapy for Binge Eaters
7. At U.S. Colleges, Binge Drinking Is on the Rise
8. Daily alcohol intake can lead to binge drinking
9. Binge-Drinking Collegians at High Risk for Injuries
10. Binge drinking in childhood and adolescence
11. Binge Drinking May Damage Teens Brains
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/13/2016)... ... 13, 2016 , ... In its newly released Infusion Therapy ... should be used to ensure patient safety when placing an IV catheter. A ... the use of vein visualization technology in patients with difficult venous access or ...
(Date:2/13/2016)... ... February 13, 2016 , ... DDi ... Management Solution Providers list for its expertise in eClinical Solutions. DDi has built ... serve the technology needs of global clients. DDi provides smarter technology for Clinical ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... Seattle, WA, and Washington, DC (PRWEB) , ... ... ... PATH and the Siemens Foundation today announced a new initiative—the Siemens ... technologies for low-resource settings. The partnership will recruit top students from U.S. ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... PA (PRWEB) , ... February 12, 2016 , ... Each ... event will be held in Anaheim, CA at the Anaheim Convention Center. Almost 10,000 ... can see new therapy products in action, learn more about their chosen field and ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital on April 5-7. The series is a ... create new habits. The workshops cover a broad range of topics, including coaching ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/12/2016)... , Feb. 12 2016  OMS Supply, a ... and medical practitioners, announced today the recent launching of ... visitors a variety of features that enhance the user ... surgery supplies. --> ... a fairly new company that started in early 2016, ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 2016 - Cardiac Marker ... Medicine and Cancer Therapy. - European Point of ... Markets. - Key Diagnostic Testing Markets. - ... in Genetic Testing. - Molecular Diagnostics in Infectious ... Over-the-Counter Diagnostic Products World Markets. - Point of ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... Feb. 11, 2016  Kindred Biosciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... improving the lives of pets, today announced the submission ... New Animal Drug Application (NADA) for Zimeta™ (dipyrone injection, ... (KB0120) of Zimeta for the control of pyrexia (fever) ... --> --> The Chemistry, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: