An analysis of the opportunity to drink more often and at an earlier age for college students

Alcohol is the drug of choice among youth. Many young people are experiencing the consequences of drinking too much, at too early an age. As a result, underage drinking is a leading public health problem in this country. Each year, approximately 5, young people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking; this includes about 1, deaths from motor vehicle crashes, 1, as a result of homicides, from suicide, as well as hundreds from other injuries such as falls, burns, and drownings 1—5.

An analysis of the opportunity to drink more often and at an earlier age for college students

People ages 18 to 25 often are in the news, but are they really at higher risk than anyone else for problems involving alcohol? According to these data, in — about 70 percent of young adults in the United States, or about 19 million people, consumed alcohol in the year preceding the survey.

Research consistently shows that people tend to drink the heaviest in their late teens and early to mid-twenties 1,2.

Young adults are especially likely to binge drink and to drink heavily1 3. Drinking heavily was defined as consuming five or more drinks in a row on at least five occasions in the past month [3].

A standard drink is defined as one ounce bottle of beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1. Such risky drinking often leads to tragic consequences 5 —most notably alcohol-related traffic fatalities 6. Thirty-two percent of drivers ages 16—20 who died in traffic crashes in had measurable alcohol in their blood, and 51 percent of drivers ages 21—24 who died tested positive for alcohol 7.

Clearly, then, young adult drinkers pose a serious public health threat, putting themselves and others at risk. They go to college, begin to work full-time, and form serious relationships. They explore their own identities and how they fit in the world. The roles of parents weaken and the influences of peers gain greater strength.

An analysis of the opportunity to drink more often and at an earlier age for college students

Young adults are on their own for the first time, free to make their own decisions, including the decision to drink alcohol.

Young adulthood also is the time during which young people obtain the education and training they need for future careers. Mastery of these endeavors is vital to future success; problems with school and work can produce frustration and stress, which can lead to a variety of unhealthy behaviors, including increased drinking.

Conversely, alcohol use during this important time of transition can impede the successful mastery of these developmental tasks 8also increasing stress.

Many scientists are concerned that drinking during this critical developmental period may lead to lifelong impairments in brain function, particularly as it relates to memory, motor skills, and coordination 9.

Young adults are particularly likely to binge drink4 and to suffer repeated bouts of withdrawal from alcohol. Even though research shows that drinking early in life can lead to impairment of brain function in adulthood, findings also show that not all young people who drink heavily or become alcohol dependent will experience the same level of impairment, and some may not show any damage at all This is because factors such as genetics, drinking patterns, and the use of other drugs also influence risk.

Gender—Men are much more likely than women to drink in ways that are harmful. As shown in a recent national survey of to year-olds, 45 percent of men and A NCES report titled Work First, Study Second indicated that at least 56 percent of students over age twenty-four who were included in the – National Postsecondary Student Aid Study saw themselves as workers first and students second, while 26 percent identified themselves as students who work.

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(5 In this study, percent of college students vs. percent of young adults reported drinking five or more drinks during the last 2 weeks [17].) On the other hand, students tend to stop these drinking practices more quickly than nonstudents—perhaps “maturing out” of harmful alcohol use before it becomes a long-term problem (16).

Aug 31,  · That moment comes earlier than adults might expect, the group said, meaning pediatricians and parents alike should warn children by age 9 about the dangers associated with drinking. Large scale studies and a recent national survey conducted by the American College Health Association of more than 90, students on campuses indicate that Lea's feelings: c.

are not uncommon in college students. College students are traditionally between 18 and 22 years old, with 21 being the legal drinking age in America. Even more important, half of these drinkers engage in binge drinking, which is consuming more than three or four drinks in a .

to college or university is a critical period for young adults, who are often facing their first opportunity to make their own food decisions (Baker, ; Marquis, ) and this could have a negative impact on students’.

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