The Chronicle of Higher Education reported this week that college students’ tendency to abuse alcohol significantly exceeds the tendency to abuse alcohol in their non-student counterparts. The article, which cites a 2009 report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, claims that 46.6 percent of college students have battled substance abuse versus only 30 percent of those not enrolled in college.
To make a conservative estimate, a traditional, four-year college might have a student body in which at least half of its students under the age of 21. Given the Chronicle’s news cited above where 46.6 percent of college students have had a drinking problem, arguably, at least half of these students with a problem were under 21.
Statistical information such as this refutes the impossible claims that current alcohol regulations in our country are preventing consumption by those who are underage. What’s more, the “bubble-like” college environment, where students are mostly surrounded by people their own age, can exacerbate unhealthy drinking behaviors. Many college students leave home without an understanding of how to imbibe responsibly and then mirror the dangerous habits of their peers, who have just as little education on responsible consumption.