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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Drink or not, it’s your call

    The UA likes to party, and we’re really good at it, too.

    As many students like to brag about, the UA frequently ranks among the top party schools in the nation. Campus Health’s 2010 wellness survey showed that only 37 percent of respondents did not drink at all in the 30 days before the survey.

    Drinking is a part of college culture, both here and on other campuses. A report by Alcohol 101 Plus found that on average, college freshmen have 5.7 drinks a week. The report also says that 79 percent of fraternity members and 72 percent of sorority members feel drinking is a central part of Greek Life.

    About half of college athletes are binge drinkers too, according to Alcohol 101 Plus, with 57 percent of men reported as binge drinkers, and 48 percent of women.

    Of course, there’s always some reason to drink every week, so these numbers aren’t totally surprising. Halloween was yesterday – there’s this week’s excuse ­– and a lot of students are probably nursing a hangover this very moment.

    It can also be really hard to avoid drinking for social reasons. Friends tend to pressure each other into going out even when they might prefer to stay in. Plus, if you want to spend your weekend out and among peers and classmates, most of them will be at a party.

    But let’s be clear on one thing: Drinking is your choice and yours alone.

    Blaming a friend for dragging you out doesn’t shift the responsibility to them, and even going to a college where the culture revolves heavily around drinking isn’t an excuse. Free will means staying in, or just plain abstaining, is always an option.

    Maybe you like going out every week, which is fine. But just because you like something doesn’t mean you have to overindulge.

    As far as solutions go, plenty of organizations throw around numbers to scare students or run programs to educate them in hopes that they’ll realize the dangers of their habit. Public service announcements aim to shame or guilt students away from binge drinking.

    But these campaigns don’t work.

    If they did, bars like Gentle Ben’s and The Wreck wouldn’t be packed every night of the weekend. Underage students wouldn’t be poring over Facebook, looking for parties to crash. Eleven students at Rice University wouldn’t have been taken to the hospital on Sunday for alcohol poisioning.

    At the end of the day and the start of the night, it’s up to you, not some poster of statistics, to decide how much to drink. The only person who can stop you from binge drinking is yourself.

    You’re free to keep drinking every week, but consider taking a night off for your health now and then.

    Forget the pressure. Tell your friends you have tests to study for or homework to do. They may not be thrilled, but you’ll only have yourself to answer to if all that drinking comes back to bite you in the ass someday.

    — Jason Krell is the copy chief for the Arizona Daily Wildcat. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @Jason_Krell .

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