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Is it just a rite of passage?

January 14, 2013 12:13 pm Published by Leave your thoughts

Is it just a rite of passage?

From our colleagues and collaborators at Project SAFER.

Drinking at college has become ritualized in American culture, and “more than 80 percent of college students drink alcohol” as part of their higher-education experience (NIAAA). Not only can students suffer injury due to assault, sexual abuse and drunk driving crashes as a result of their drinking, but they can also suffer un-repairable damage to their still developing brains.

“An estimated 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking, and an estimated 97,000 students between ages 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape” (NIAAA).

When alcohol affects the frontal lobes of the brain “a person may find it hard to control his or her emotions and urges. They may act without thinking or [become] violent” (SAMHSA).

The human brain doesn’t fully develop until around the age of 25 (OJJDP), which means by the time a student has come and gone through college—lived through their “rite of passage” that is college drinking—the damage has already been done. What can be done to change this social norm, and help prevent the “estimated 1,825 college students” (NIAAA) who die each year in alcohol related injuries and vehicle crashes?

  • Limit alcohol availability, and enforce underage-drinking laws.
    Always checking ID before serving alcohol to any customer.
  • Provide alcohol education.
    Most students don’t understand the permanent damage they’re doing to their developing brain.
  • Provide alcohol-free campus activities.
    Servers who suggest non-alcohol alternatives and food can reduce over-service and incidents of drunk driving.

What do you think could help change this social norm?

For more information on what servers, bartenders and wait staff can do to reduce underage-access to alcohol and over-service of alcohol, check out our website: www.projectsafer.org

Project SAFER

About Project SAFER: We strive to enhance safe and legal alcohol sales and service practices in an effort to reduce alcohol-related violence, injury, vehicle crashes, unlawful alcohol service, and underage access to alcohol. We believe that by identifying environmental conditions contributing to liabilities associated with alcohol sales and service, we can promote house policies and conditions linked to best practices for alcohol service to be consistently administred within the laws and guildelines established by State and local authorities.