A great many parents are nervously wondering how their away from home for the first time kids are getting on at college, and a lot of them will be justifiably concerned about the risks of college drinking, especially when kids are away from parental supervision for the first time in their lives.
College binge drinking and the eventual development of dependency is an enormous societal problem across college campuses in the United States, and the devastation of alcohol related deaths, assaults, and alcohol induced sexual violence transcends schools throughout the country. Some schools are worse than other though…
Researchers at Harvard University wanted to see what variables seemed to influence the levels of alcohol related problems at diverse schools across the nation, and one factor that earned an enormously strong correlation with rates of problem drinking was the number of alcohol outlets within two miles of the campus center.
185 bars within 2 miles of campus!!!
Out of the schools surveyed, the range of alcohol outlets within a 2 mile radius ranged from a substantial 32 to a mind boggling 185, and not surprisingly there was an almost direct correlation of increasing alcohol problems, alcohol abuse, and alcohol dependence with greater numbers of outlets serving alcohol. The school with the greatest number of alcohol outlets had 48% of students getting drunk more than three times a month.
There is no doubt that environmental variables influence the development of alcohol abuse problems and alcoholism, and while a real alcoholic would surely drink even if there existed only one outlet within a 2 mile radius, by providing an enormous and ever present environment of alcohol access and temptation, certain schools are undoubtedly contributing to their own alcohol abuse problems.
The solution to college binge drinking may be easier than we had thought
Parents wanting to evaluate the risks to their kids need only take a short drive around and count the number of bars in the neighborhood, and if schools and their communities want to enact serious changes to the culture of college drinking, the answer may well be easier than we had all thought; and with a bit of creative rezoning…we could save thousands of lives a year, and tens of thousands from alcohol abuse and alcohol dependency problems.
The responses of different schools to the problem of college drinking have varied from fundamental changes in policy to lip service and knee jerk reactions, not likely to bring any betterment of the problem. Harvard researchers were surprised at the incredibly strong correlation between alcohol access and alcohol abuse, and suggest that these very "wet" environment pose an incredible risk to people who have not yet developed alcohol abuse problems…but very well might.