Parents- Did You Know 1,825 College Students Die From Alcoholic-Related Accidents Each Year?
Parents send their children to school to prepare them for life. And the student, either by experimenting, pear pressure, or by just wanting to let their hair down, makes the mistake of drinking so much, that they put their own safety at risk. And I don’t just mean drinking yourself to death as this student did, but also lowering your judgment to the point when someone can take advantage of you including rape, murder, or even taking a choice of actions that result in an avoidable accident that hurts yourself or someone else.
Well with a heavy heart, here we go again! I can’t let this week go by without mentioning the police report released last week about the Rutgers University 19 year old sophomore who died on September 21 of this year. It is often under aged young adults as in the Rutgers case and in the case of Hannah Graham an 18 year old at the University of Virginia earlier this year. And an incident at Rutgers in 1998 where 20 year old Jason Greco died after drinking at a bar and then went back to his fraternity house where he fell down a flight of stairs into the basement. Alcohol lowers everyone’s capacity for making good decisions, that’s a fact. But there was also a case in New York City in 2011, where a graduate student Imette St Guillen of legal age, who was drunk, left her friends and continued to bar hop, and she either got into the car of a bouncer with a police record, or was forced into the car, and was found dead by tracking her cell phone’s location. What spurs this urge to escape present realities, to numb the pain of life, in order to deal with life from a little easier but false perspective?
These stories continue all over the country, with no ebb insight. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that each year the following is happening;
Just about all college students experience the effects of college drinking
4 out of 5 college students drink
Half of those binge drink (4 drinks for women, 5 drinks for men, in 2 hours, at least 1 day in the past 30 days (The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA))
Some heavy drink -5 days or more in the past 30 days (SAMHSA)
1,825 college students 18- 24 die from alcohol- related unintentional injuries
690,000+ students 18- 24 are assaulted by a student who has been drinking
97,000 students 18- 24 are victims of alcohol related sexual assaults or date rape
599,000 students 18- 24 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol
25% of students report academic consequences of drinking- missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, resulting in receiving lower grades
150,000 develop health problems, 1.2- 1.5% indicate that they tried to commit suicide, with in the past year due to drinking and drugs
And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the new fad of mixing action drinks and alcohol;
Popular with 34% of 18- 24 year olds
Are 3 times more likely to binge drink than drinkers who don’t
Are twice as likely to being taken advantage of sexually, or to report taken advantage of someone else sexually, or to report riding with a driver under the influence of alcohol
What can be our most reasonable answers here? How can we as parents, adults, help our children and work against something that most of us don’t even expect is a problem until it is way too late. My opinion is not all important, but a collection of opinions might give us direction for actions to curb this heart break. Europeans often introduce alcohol early to teens under supervision, so some of the mystique and attraction is diminished before they move out of the house. But what if they are one of the unlucky ones who are hot wired to proceed to the label of alcoholic?
One conversation that I think is lightly touched in many relationships between parent and teenager is an honest conversation and education about the ills of over drinking. We know that colleges do try to educate students on the ills of drinking on or off campus. And some bars and bartenders are vigilant in stopping underage drinking and drinking and driving. But if they know a customer is walking, they won’t offend in order to receive that good tip. Now we can’t start blaming each other when there is so much to do to raise any perfect angel, that some issues are glossed over in the home, and not zeroed in on as a maybe potential situation for all teenagers. After all, it is partially the student’s poor judgments that put them in this predicament. I certainly understand pressures in life sometimes make us all want to escape if only for a few hours. But we all have to understand the boundaries as in the truth that drunk driving is reckless, and that we need to make choices for a safer environment for ourselves and our community. The real truth is drinking will kill or hurt you or someone you know most likely more than once during your life time.
Let’s start the conversation! What do you think are suggestions for parenting here?
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