A random survey presented to Keene State College students through Facebook found that 42 percent of the 389 students surveyed binge drink when they go out.
Binge drinking is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as three to five drinks per sitting (depending on gender and weight).
According to the University of California San Fransisco, binge drinking is a very dangerous activity because it puts an incredible amount of stress on the liver, which serves to filter toxins out of the body. In the long term this could cause serious permanent effects to the liver, including disease and it being unable to do its job.
Twenty-four percent of the students surveyed have blacked out at least once this semester. According to the CDC, blacking out is a common sign of over-drinking and is the beginning stages of the brain shutting down.
Junior Heather Hunt said that the glamorization of drinking in college is a huge problem. She said, “[Drinking] is kind of inflated by a lot of the stuff you see in TV and the movies. It seems a lot more fun than it really is when really it can be dangerous.”
In the survey, 16 percent of the students said they did not drink.
Junior Ashley Gage does not drink. She said, “It’s just a choice I’ve made, I’m not of legal age… I go to parties where people drink… But most people are actually really cool about it… They’ll be like ‘hey do you want a drink?’ and I’ll say, ‘No I’m good.’ And they just leave it at that and I’ll get water from the sink.”
She says that people are often scared of not drinking because they think they will not be able to have a good time, but she said, “I have tons of fun. It’s the people who I’m with. It doesn’t matter if I’m drinking or not. It’s we’re going to be listening to music or dancing or playing a game… I can still participate in a drinking game, it’s just water instead of alcohol.”
Assistant Director of Emotional Health Programing and Outreach in the Counseling Center Forrest Seymour, said that the school offers services to students who are worried about their drinking habits.
Seymour said that if a student thinks they are concerned about their drinking, they should not hesitate to come to the Counseling Center. Any student can make an appointment, free of charge, on the counseling centers page on the KSC website.
“Talking to a counselor at the Counseling Center is a great step for someone who is concerned,” said Seymour. “We also have several online self assessments that are on the Counseling Center website so if someone is wanting something a little more private they can get some concrete feedback about their substance use.”
He said that the assessments are “not designed to be morally judgemental in any way. They are just sort of like ‘here’s some information…’ To give you some sense and put in perspective what the choices are that you are making.”
Alyssa Salerno can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org