Now that most college students across the country are settled into their new classes and new dorms, parents breathe a sigh of relief that the transition is over. But is it really over? Statistics cited at http://www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov indicate that:
– over 1800 students die from alcohol-related injuries annually
– nearly 700,000 students are assaulted annually by other students who have been drinking
– an estimated 3.3 million students between the ages of 18-24 drive while under the influence of alcohol each year.
Binge drinking is a common problem among college students. For many students away from home for the first time, the freedom and the pressure of being on one’s own is enough to test their judgement and decision-making skills. Binge drinking is defined as 5 drinks for males, or 4 drinks for females, in a very short amount of time. Binge drinking often leads to alcohol poisoning and can require a visit to the ER. Common symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:
– mental confusion
– slow or irregular breathing
– low body temperature
– pale or bluish skin
Most colleges and universities have formal policies in place for underage drinking and substance abuse prevention. Many also have on-campus resources to help students maintain a healthy, drug=free lifestyle. But parents can do a lot to protect their teens from the pressure and excitement that can lead to underage drinking. Here are some suggestions:
– during campus visits, ask about the college’s or university’s drug-use and underage drinking policies. Discuss your findings with your teens.
– agree on a weekly check-in with your teen, whether by phone, Skype, or email, and stick to the schedule! Right before a weekend, or immediately following a weekend, are prime times.
– talk early and often with teens about the potential consequences of underage drinking and binge drinking
Parents who are concerned that their teens may be engaging in underage drinking and under the influence of alcohol can administer a test for alcohol abuse anyplace and anytime using an inexpensive, simple, at-home drug testing kit. Follow the directions carefully to get the most accurate results. For more information on alcohol testing options available through ASC, check out our webpage.