Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro
Anchor Staff Writer
In the entertainment world – the promotion of alcoholic beverages is habitual. Alcohol, or references to being tipsy or drunk is a common theme in music, movies and advertisements. Beer advertisements are seen on billboards, social media algorithms and television commercials. People of all ages are exposed to alcoholic promotion campaigns, especially college students.
According to a survey conducted in 2019, 53% of college students ages 18-22 had binge drank within a month before the collection of data. For the purposes of that study, binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more drinks in a single sitting for men and consuming four drinks in a single sitting for women. This study showed, however, that the typical college student drank more than twice that amount, referring to it as “high-intensity drinking.”
For some students, drinking is perceived as a part of the “college experience.” Off-campus parties, a new found sense of freedom, assumptions regarding Greek life and rushes, having friends of legal age, and past potential drinking habits can spell disaster for some curious to try alcohol. It is estimated that alcohol contributes to about 1,519 national student deaths annually, while just over 22,000 are hospitalized for alcohol overdose and poisoning. For more statistics, please see this study overview.
Alcohol, especially at a young age, can cause permanent damage to the brain. In addition, physical consequences such as permanent difficulty concentrating, unintentional injury, sexual assault, unsafe behaviors and numerous health problems can occur. Repeated alcohol use also takes its toll on the liver, kidneys and other vital organs. In 2019, a national survey concluded that 9% of all full time college students ages 18-22 met the criteria for having an Alcohol Use Disorder.
Rhode Island College is a Drug Free School as listed under the Drug Free School and Community Act of 1989. That means that it is illegal for minors to possess and/or transport alcohol, persons of legal age to buy for a minor, and to have alcohol in the dorm rooms. RIC has a zero tolerance policy, which can be found within the Student Code of Conduct, and follows all state and federal laws regarding alcohol. RIC sanctions include a written warning to expulsion.
The consequences of being caught drinking or with alcohol on your person vary. For specific state and federal laws, as well as for information on how RIC will respond, visit https://www.ric.edu/department-directory/office-campus-police/prevention-alcohol-and-drug-abuse.
If stuck in a situation where there is drinking, it is important to recognize the signs of alcohol overdose. These signs include vomiting, confusion, irregular breathing and changes in skin color due to a change in body temperature. If someone passes out during drinking, seizures also may occur. Overdosing can lead to permanent brain damage and/or death, so it is important to call 911 if any of these symptoms occur.
If you suspect someone is struggling with alcoholism, do not be afraid to reach out to that person. Calling the Counseling Center at (401) 456-8094 for advice on how to approach someone is also recommended.
If you are looking for help, Health Services has a drug and alcohol treatment program for students and staff. Health Services can be reached at (401) 456-8055. If you are a student who is off campus, the Recovery Help Line can also be of service by calling (401) 942-STOP. The HOPE Line is also available 24/7 by calling (401) 456-4673.