College and Drinking: Things to Keep in Mind
Whether you choose to drink or not at college is a personal choice. Like many things at college, balance and moderation are important. If you do choose to drink, here are some things to keep in mind:
Alcohol decreases inhibitions, increases aggressiveness and impairs judgment. So your decisions about when, where, with whom and how much you drink determine whether a night out is fun or potentially dangerous. Drinking or going out alone is a bad idea in general. If you are going to drink, make sure you are with at least one person you trust.
Alcohol related accidents remain a leading cause of death among college students. Before you start drinking, have a plan for getting home safely by a designated driver, cab or a safe ride program. Don’t wait until you are out and drinking to come up with a plan.
Know the Rules
It may seem that alcohol is an accepted part of campus life, even for underage students. But most colleges have strict policies around underage drinking and, if you’re caught, there are serious legal and academic consequences. Before you drink, take a look at your school’s policies on drinking on and off campus.
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health shows nearly 1 in 5 students, or nearly 20%, abstain from drinking.
Nearly 100,000 students are the victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape each year. If you’ve been drinking, do not put yourself in a situation where you will be at risk. Make an agreement with your friends to look after each other and not allow anyone to go off alone. Also, keep an eye on your drink and never leave it unattended. Date rape drugs are not an urban myth.
Know Your Limit
Use common sense when it comes to how much you drink. Binge drinking or blacking out isn’t healthy or safe. It can also interfere with school and other obligations. If you are worried that you or a friend are drinking too much, take a minute to learn the warning signs of a problem.
Sources used in this article: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Harvard School of Public Health
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