“According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 7 percent of the American population drinks in an abusive or dependent manner” (Allan 283). Amongst American college students, it is “one of the most significant health problems” (Glider 208). The unhealthy habit of abusing alcohol takes an "enormous toll on [their] intellectual and social lives" and yet it is a persistent problem due to the perception of drinking and partying while in college (NIAAA 1).
Alcohol abuse is the habitual use of alcoholic beverages despite its negative consequences (NIAAA). It has an immense impact on the human body, directly weakening the immune system, making the body an easier target for diseases (NIAAA). Consistent alcohol abuse over time or even one severe binge-drinking episode can cause irreparable damage to the heart. This can lead to a multitude of problems including cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia and stroke. The most common health risk ...view middle of the document...
Students have the tendency to overestimate the use and approval of alcohol by campus peers (Borsari 402). Today’s college students get intoxicated more often and are more motivated to get drunk than in previous generations and in 2000, the US Surgeon General and the Department of Health and Human Services recognized binge drinking as a major health issue among college students.
Many students are unaware of the "enormous toll on intellectual and social lives" as well as health problems that abusive alcohol drinking can cause. The problems associated with alcohol abuse "are not only experienced by heavy drinkers (college setting), but also by abstainers and moderate drinkers" (OASAS 1). Students have the tendency to overestimate the use and approval of alcohol by campus peers (Borsari 402). This results in students not viewing their own drinking as problematic, which can lead to excessive alcohol use.
On the City College of New York (CCNY) campus, students have a relatively healthy relationship with alcohol compared to their counterparts on other campuses. Of a group of 160 students that were surveyed, 60% of students that drink only have 1-2 drinks in the 2-hour “binge-drinking” time period and 76.5 % of CCNY students that drink wait until the weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) to drink. 35% of students surveyed do not drink any alcohol. Compared to other campuses where 2 out every 5 students binge drink less than 1 out 5 CCNY students binge drink. However, 41% of CCNY students surveyed are more prone to drink because their friends are drinking with 32% of the students being at risk for abusing alcohol, drinking 3-5 drinks in the 2-hour “binge-drinking” time period.
Research indicates that “being surrounded by peers that are perceived to both participate in and approve of excessive drinking may be associated with increased levels of personal use” (Borsari 412). There is the potential for college students to drink more, “regardless of their own personal beliefs” because they believe that excessive drinking is the normative behavior amongst their peers (Glider 208-209). With the prevalence of social media as a major part of college students’ routines, perceptions of alcohol use and the over glamorization of excessive use is being skewed by images and posts made by friends online.