|Using alcohol as an escape can create issues|
|Written by Ellie McGraw, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Tuesday, 20 September 2011 20:37|
New research has shown college students who drink are using alcohol as a justification for acting in certain ways.
A USA Today article discussed research performed by a Virginia Tech professor. The research showed that a student’s friends usually justify poor decisions made by a higher intake of alcohol because the atmosphere on college campuses makes the actions seem excusable.
Dr. Jean Swearingen, medical director of Student Health Services, said there are several alcohol-related injuries that students obtain while consuming.
“We do see a number of patients who have been injured when intoxicated, who have had unplanned and risky sexual encounters and who have some academic, legal and relationship issues due to excessive alcohol use,” Swearingen explained.
These issues all stem from drinking heavily, an act that several students choose to participate in, she said. However, the reason why they choose to embark on binge drinking varies.
Swearingen added many students are peer-pressured into drinking heavily because it can make them feel more comfortable when out with their friends.
Kerri Calvert, coordinator at the Office of Health Promotion and Wellness, explained heavy drinking could affect students in various ways.
“Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant so it could certainly impact one’s emotional and/or mental health,” Calvert explained.
She added students could let the alcohol overuse cause legal trouble or even cause academic issues such as missing class or failing exams.
Swearingen also thinks many students use alcohol as a stress reliever.
“This may work with one or two drinks, but with excessive use, this may backfire when academic and personal issues cause more stress,” she added.
Contrary to the belief that every college student drinks, Swearingen said that many students are unaware of how many other students do not drink alcohol or at least do not do so excessively. She also said that ISU is trying to educate their students on these issues.
Calvert confirmed ISU is encouraging students to seize over-drinking by creating alternative activities and promoting the “0013” campaign this year.
“[The campaign] is a community-wide campaign to highlight low-risk drinking: zero if underage, zero if driving, one standard drink per hour and no more than three standard drinks on any day if you choose to drink,” she explained.
In addition to the “0013” campaign, Calvert added ISU is now requiring incoming students to take an alcohol education course. The university also organizes alternative events that run from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. so that students who do not drink have the opportunity to go out as well.
While these are great education, Calvert believes students who do drink around campus should encourage each other to take responsibility, instead of justifying the actions that occur while intoxicated.
“Hold each other accountable for behavior, sober or not,” she said.