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Binge drinking brings health risks for college students

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For millions of college students across the nation the weekends mean one thing: a chance to party.

After waking up following another night of heart thumping music, raucous new faces and copious amounts of alcohol, it usually takes 24-year-old psychology major Romero a few minutes to gather her surroundings and bearings. She goes over the checklist that she routinely repeats to herself after a night of heavy drinking. Phone? Check. Purse? Check. Wallet? Check.

With a loose grasp of how she awoke in her bed and a spotty idea of last night’s events, Romero comes to one conclusion: that party must have been amazing.

Despite Romero’s enthusiasm, binge drinking by Cosumnes River College students can pose a serious threat to both health and academic success.

 “I don’t really have a problem with drinking a lot at parties and I go all the time,” said Romero. “If you’re safe about it then you’ll be okay.”

Binge drinking is a form of alcohol abuse described as the consumption of five or more alcoholic beverages by a male in two hours or the consumption of four or more alcoholic beverages by a female in the same amount of time, according to The Center for Disease Control’s website.

“When I was under aged, parties would get shut down by police a lot in Elk Grove,” Romero said. “So you learn to drink fast.”

Students who binge drink have the tendency to do it often. According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s website, 42 percent of college students surveyed admitted to binge drinking within the last week from the time of the study. When taking only males into account the number increases to 51 percent.

CRC Head Nurse Michelle Barkley admits that it’s difficult to determine CRC’s numbers when it comes to binge drinking because it’s a commuter campus.

“It’s happened on occasion when a student has been intoxicated on campus, but it’s rare,” Barkley said. “What I usually see are the students that are concerned for themselves or their family members regarding alcohol.”

Although binge drinking shares a lot of the symptoms of alcohol dependency, the two should not be confused. The main difference being that binge drinking is intentional, while alcohol dependency stems from genetically impaired control over ones drinking according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website.

Not only is there a psychological component, but there are law enforcement and academic consequences to consider. According to the NIAAA website, 25 percent of college students report academic problems resulting from binge drinking. Additionally, 1,825 students die each year from alcohol related injuries, 690,000 students are victims of abuse and 97,000 are victims of sexual assault.

Mayra Flores, a 20-year-old undeclared student, is still paying for her decision to drink and drive.

“I got pulled over leaving a party earlier this year and I’m still paying the ticket off,” Flores said. “It wasn’t worth it.”

Due to being under the legal drinking age, Flores also had her license revoked for six months and had to join a driving under the influence program sanctioned by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

“My mom couldn’t give me a ride,” Flores said. “I would miss class because I couldn’t get a ride.”

The cause behind each student’s decision to binge drink is different. Romero attributes her drinking to a lack of interesting things to do in the CRC area.

“There’s nothing better to do on a Saturday night,” Romero said. “We‘re not hurting anybody.”

In the end alcohol is a legal substance for anyone over the age of 21, but Barkley recommends moderation when drinking with friends.

“Overall it’s not very healthy for your body,” Barkley said. “For some people it might be euphoric, but it is a depressant.”

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Binge drinking brings health risks for college students