On a wet, dark, and snowy Sunday night an outsider wouldn't expect a Northeastern University campus bar to be crowded. In fact, most students can't even leave their dorms because there is too much snow. Yet a tiny pub, located barely off campus on Gainesboro Street, is packed wall to wall with students. A small community is drinking away their problems while discussing the probability of school being canceled. Many experts would describe this act as binge drinking, but any student would prefer to describe it as just a regular Sunday night.
The Harvard School of Public Health has done numerous studies on college binge drinking. These studies are known as the standard for binge drinking data. They define binge drinking for men as the consumption of five or more drinks in a row at least once in the past two weeks. Women are considered binge drinkers when they consume four or more drinks in a row.
This is a growing problem among college students throughout the country. According to the Harvard study, in 1999, 44 percent of college students were binge drinkers. Results of the survey prove that drinking is the most serious drug problem on college campuses.
Henry Wechsler, Ph.D., was the doctor who authored the Harvard study. The term “binge drinking” was used by Wechsler and colleagues in Massachusetts several years before the study. The term is now a mainstream term used to describe drinking among college students that leads to serious problems.
"Binge Drinking has so many negative effects on students, and I see it first hand. Students should be careful they don’t develop alcoholism, because then you have a serious problem,” said Danna Kobo a sophomore at Northeastern.
A study by the federally appointed Task Force on College Drinking found that 1,400 college students are killed each year in alcohol-related incidents. These deaths range from alcohol poisonings, falls, automobile accidents, fires, hypothermia resulting from exposure, and drowning.
A New England College student, P.J. Steverman, was found dead in a swamp located nearby the school’s campus located in Henniker, New Hampshire in 1996. He allegedly left a party alone after a night of heavy drinking. In May of 1997 another alcohol related death occurred. Robert Jordan, of Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., drowned after falling into a river after a night of binge drinking.
Scott Krueger was a freshman at M.I.T. when he died in 1997 from excessive drinking at a school fraternity party. The Boston area tried to crack down on college partying after the tragic event. Students began having parties broken up quicker, stricter rules against alcohol, and more school sponsored events aiming at curbing alcohol intake.
After the death, M.I.T. implicated a new policy requiring freshman to live on campus. Under the new rules, fines of over $1,000 could be handed out to those who violate the alcohol regulations. The school also hired five alcohol-free advisers...