You may have heard of the term “binge drinking culture” – and that often starts right in college, when young adults are just forming their sense of identity and establishing their place in society. Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH) as a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration levels to .08. This typically occurs after 4 drinks women and after 5 drinks for men – within about 2 hours.

Many people view college as a place to be risky, experiment, and “have fun” because that is considered the only time in their life when they will be surrounded by their peers and will be able to “afford” making mistakes and recovering from them. The mentality for college students is that they will form “lasting memories” that will prove just how “risky” and “fun” they really were. Males in college tend to utilize drinking as a form of bonding and competition to prove “manliness”, while women tend to use drinking to relax more and bond with friends. Many college students also engage in binge drinking to deal with deep-rooted emotional issues.

The NIH describes the first six weeks for a college freshman as being critical moments of impact regarding drinking – societal and peer pressure often encourage students to explore their newfound “freedom” to make their own decisions, something that they may feel they didn’t have at home. However, the pressure to binge drink in college is dangerous, as many students end up suffering from alcoholism and many also die.

Bars located close to campuses are not coincidental – bar establishments are aware that college students are looking to drink excessively, and are “conveniently” located right across the street from Greek houses and student centers. Binge drinking on campuses affects more than just those drinking, though – physical and sexual assault often occurs due to alcohol-related reasons, putting other students at risk.

The ritual surrounding college drinking is an impactful one – affecting students, their families, and universities at large. The argument is not to discourage drinking altogether – but perhaps to change the tone of alcohol-related discussions towards responsibility, safety, and ethicality – so that our students can make informed, healthy choices. By cautioning our students of the terrible risks and dangers involved with binge drinking, as well as inform them of ways to be safe about drinking, we may be able to save more lives.


Recovery is yours when you start to do the work. At a treatment facility in the New Vista Behavioral Health family, you will be supported with staff and programming held to higher standards, providing exceptional care for better outcomes. Life is yours for living. Start making a change today by calling: 866-926-1498

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