Tag Archives: drinking

Alcohol Use: Colleges Deadliest Ritual

alcohol use

Young adults who go off to college typically have few allusions about the prevalence of alcohol use on campuses. Most have expectations of attending parties where drinking and drugging takes place, and know full well that they will probably partake in the use of such substances, at least from time to time. For others, drinking alcohol in unhealthy ways will be a weekly ritual. Engaging in binge drinking, which is when a male consumes 5 alcoholic beverages and female drinks 4 in a 2 hour -period. Over the course of the night, drinking in that manner can bring one’s blood alcohol level to dangerous, and even deadly, heights. Yet, both young men and women will take such risks several days in row, sometimes from Thursday to Sunday.

Try as colleges and universities might, educating young people about the inherent risks of alcohol use, especially regarding binge and high-intensity drinking (i.e. women/men consuming 8+/10+ drinks in a day), is a difficult task. People in their late teens and early twenties often forget the impermanence of existence. That is, they are not invincible.

All of us, especially those who are working a program of addiction recovery, at one point in our lives harbored false beliefs about what we could tolerate; we have views about what we can put our mind and body through without consequence. Most of our former errors in thinking we inherited from our peers, in many cases those who are older than us. You may have an older sibling or close friend that introduced you to drugs or alcohol at a young age. They may have encouraged you to do certain things without a second thought of the consequences. In most cases, people who are exposed to mind-altering substances early on actually move on to adulthood without any serious, life-changing costs. But for others, something quite different often occurs.

Alcohol Use Disorder In College

Most teenagers have their first drink in high school. Some parents will try to instill a healthy relationship with alcohol at fairly young ages (which often backfires). In other cases, initiation begins at parties, or with older siblings or peers of similar age. But for those who will go on to experience the unmanageability and true costs of heavy drinking, it usually occurs at and around schools of higher learning—where entire communities revolve around both a learning and drinking culture.

In many ways, campuses are the perfect environment to incubate the growth of unhealthy drinking patterns. From social drinking abuses at fraternities and sororities, to a wealth of parties where drinking games and drug use are rampant. Those who engage in heavy drinking on a weekly basis put themselves at serious risk of developing alcohol dependency, and some will develop an alcohol use disorder. This may not happen in college, but later down the road.

It is not uncommon for college students to need to seek help for an alcohol use disorder. Some will drop out, others will take a semester hiatus to go into treatment. At PACE Recovery Center, we know first-hand that a significant number of male students need help, but only a few receive assistance. Partly because it is easy for a young person to convince oneself that their consumption is on par with their peers, thus convincing himself that he doesn’t need treatment. A college faculty is rarely equipped with skills to identify which students are in need of intervention.

Campus faculties across the country do work hard to mitigate the prevalence of alcohol consumption, and encourage students to exercise good judgment, if alcohol is to be imbibed. But, and by default, if alcohol is mixed into just about any equation, sound judgment has left the party a long time ago. And it is often only after a tragedy when a university realizes that several of their students needed far more than an hour-long orientation into the dangers of drinking, or having to take a class after being caught with alcohol in the dorm. It is usually only after a death, or several, before someone says, ‘wait a minute.’ The behaviors exhibited in Greek life should not be allowed to continue. Yet each year, young men die from alcohol and hazing related deaths.

One Drink Too Many Changes Several Lives

Naturally, in the field of addiction our primary focus is to encourage people to seek help when their lives have become unmanageable because of substance use. This is not always an easy task with young males. We know that when addiction is left unchecked, the risks of serious life problems and premature death are exponentially greater. But it is also important to discuss the risks of substance use even when addiction is not part of the equation, as is often the case in college.

Even when you are not the one who is injured because of alcohol use, there can be a cost. As is the case involving the death of student this year at Penn State University. A fraternity party in early February that involved alcohol hazing, caused 19-year-old pledge Tim Piazza to incur an estimated BAC of .40. After repeated falls, and then falling down a flight of stairs, Piazza sustained a collapsed lung, ruptured spleen, and a non-recoverable brain injury, according to NBC 10. A tragedy to be sure. But what has many people across the country alarmed is the fact that the Brothers of Beta Theta Pi did little if anything to help the sophomore pledge—failing to call for an ambulance until 10:48 a.m. the next day.

The New York Times reported last month that eighteen members of the fraternity were charged in connection with the death: eight were charged with involuntary manslaughter and the rest with other lesser offenses. The death of one young man will, in one way or another, change the lives of nearly twenty young men in the prime of their life. And for what?

Alcohol Use Can Be Deadly

Cases like Piazza are not unique. Sadly. There is little way of knowing what it will take to convince young people that the game they are playing with alcohol has the highest of stakes. Whether from alcohol-related trauma, or the development of an alcohol use disorder, little good comes from heavy drinking. If you have a son in college who you believe to be abusing alcohol, please contact PACE Recovery Center today. We specialize in the treatment of young males whose lives have become impacted by the use of drugs and alcohol.

Millennials Drink A Lot Of Wine

MillennialsMillennials, or Generation Y, are now all above the age of 21, the legal age to consume alcohol in the U.S. This means that researchers can now take a look at alcohol patterns for the demographic and compare these to other generations. When we think of young adults drinking, beer and hard liquor probably come to mind. The practice of drinking as much as you can as fast you can may also accompany your thoughts about the Millennials’ drinking. You may find it surprising to learn that Gen. Yers drink more wine than any other age group.

In fact, Millennials (79 million Americans ages 21 to 38) consumed nearly half of all the wine in the United States last year, USA Today reports. The findings come from a study conducted by the industry nonprofit Wine Market Council. The researchers found that the age group drank 159.6 million cases of wine in 2015, 42 percent of all the wine in the U.S. That is an average of two cases per person.

The study also looked at what is known as “high frequency” drinking among various age groups, according to the article. High frequency drinking is the act of consuming alcohol several days a week. Out of everyone who drinks multiple days a week, the researchers found that:

  • 20 percent were Gen X’ers.
  • 30 percent were Millennials.
  • Baby Boomers made up 38 percent.

Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject:

If you are having trouble viewing the video, please click here.

It is somewhat troubling to see that Gen Y’ers were not too far behind Baby Boomers when it comes to high frequency drinking. While drinking multiple days a week does not mean that a person has a problem with alcohol, the more often a person drinks, the greater the likelihood of developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Many high frequency drinkers become dependent or addicted to alcohol. If you feel that your drinking has gotten out of hand, and is impacting your life, please contact PACE Recovery Center for help. Our experienced staff specializes in the treatment of young adult men (18-30).

Critical Thinking About Excessive Drinking and Sexual Assault

college-drinkingOn college campuses across the country, alcohol is often times an extracurricular activity, from Thursday – Saturday. Campus faculty members work hard to deter alcohol consumption by promoting abstinence and mandating that students attend programs that teach safe drinking practices. Unfortunately, while such measures do reach some students, others students disregard the disclaimers; and every year bad decisions are made which can lead to life changing outcomes, notably sexual assaults, DUIs, and alcohol poisonings.

In recent years, binge drinking and campus sexual assault has made national news reports, due to the alarming rates that they occur – even at some of the nation’s most prestigious schools. In the digital age that young people find themselves in, perhaps the best way to reach young adults is a media platform they understand. Two interactive games have been developed designed to make students think critically about excessive drinking and sexual assault, according to U.S. News & World Report.

“What Kind of Drinker Are You?” was created by a east coast center to help students think about their drinking. In the game, students go through the night partying and are asked to guess their blood alcohol level whilst being given safe drinking information and at the end they are given a drinking profile score, the article reports.

“We wanted to give these students a realistic view of what college drinking culture encompasses and show them how their drinking decisions can affect their night but even in the long term, their college experience and their drinking habits,” says Savannah Flynn, product manager at the center.

Decisions That Matter” deals with sexual assault and how bystanders can intervene. The game was a class project at ​Carnegie Mellon University. The game is designed like a graphic novel, using life-like scenarios that don’t always present an obvious answer. Kirsten Rispin, one of the creators, hopes the game elicits students to think “honestly and critically” about how they’d handle situations involving sexual assault, according to the article.

“With the story​, we wanted characters that were believable, dialogue that was believable, scenarios that were believable,” she says.

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If you or a loved one has a drinking problem, please contact Pace Recovery Center.

Personalized Feedback About Alcohol Can Reduce Drinking

binge-drinking
Karen Moskowitz / Getty Images

The consumption of alcohol is a common occurrence among college students, especially freshman – free from the nest for their first time. While many students are able to moderate their alcohol intake, there are those whose drinking gets out of hand, and can result in academic, social, and addiction problems.

Naturally, limiting alcohol consumption is a top priority for faculty members on every campus across the country. New research suggests that sending students personal feedback about their drinking habits via text message and websites can reduce alcohol consumption, The Wall Street Journal reports. In-person interventions appear to reduce drinking by as much as 13 percent.

Robert Leeman, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine, says that electronic interventions “dramatically increases access to techniques that have been proven to work.”

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that 4 out of 5 college students drink alcohol, and around half of them engage in “binge drinking” – the practice of drinking as much as you can as fast as you can. Opening up a dialogue with students about drinking practices can save lives, which is important when you consider that 1,825 students lose their life each year from alcohol-related injuries.

“Most students overestimate the amount and frequency that other students are actually drinking, and research has shown that if you can correct this misperception, students’ drinking tends to decrease to be more in line with the true norm,” said study co-author Jessica Cronce of the University of Washington.

In 2011, researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle published a study which indicated that electronic intervention programs were more likely than general alcohol awareness programs to reduce college drinking, according to the article.

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Excessive alcohol consumption is not only dangerous, it results in an alcohol use disorder. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol, please do not hesitate to reach out for help.

Concerns Mounting Over Powdered Alcohol

powdered-alcoholMinimizing underage drinking is a priority in the United States. This is why many are concerned over the recent approval of Palcohol (powdered alcohol), all it takes is a little bit of water and you have an alcoholic beverage. Lawmakers across the country have made efforts to ban Palcohol before it hits the shelves and gets into the wrong hands.

The producer of Palcohol, Mark Phillips, claims that his product is no more dangerous than traditional alcohol, The New York Times reports. While in essence the product will have the same effect on the human body as liquid alcohol, the reality is that Palcohol will be attractive to underage drinkers for its ability to be concealed.

Phillips says that the idea for powdered alcohol came from his love for hiking, and the hassle of having to carry bottles uphill, according to the article. The product may be practical, but not everyone is on board, six states have already banned the powdered alcohol and Senator Charles Schumer of New York introduced a bill last month that would ban the product nationwide.

“I am in total disbelief that our federal government has approved such an obviously dangerous product, and so, Congress must take matters into its own hands and make powdered alcohol illegal,” said Schumer in a statement. “Underage alcohol abuse is a growing epidemic with tragic consequences and powdered alcohol could exacerbate this.”

Other concerns include the risk of people snorting the product for a quicker fix, but Phillips claims that snorting Palcohol would not be a fun experience.

“It would take you an hour of pain to ingest the equivalent of one drink,” Phillips said in an interview. “It really burns.”

However, in 2012, on the company’s website Phillips wrote that you could sprinkle powdered alcohol on guacamole, “although snorting it would get you drunk quickly and was probably not a good idea.” Now, Palcohol’s website says that snorting would be impractical and unpleasant.

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