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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Drinking up

Kevin+Brost+%2F+Arizona+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AThe+Center+for+Disease+Control+and+Prevention+conducted+a+recent+study+showing+that+binge+drinking+occurs+more+in+Southwestern+states+due+to+their+close+location+to+the+Mexican+border.
Kevin Brost
Kevin Brost / Arizona Daily Wildcat The Center for Disease Control and Prevention conducted a recent study showing that binge drinking occurs more in Southwestern states due to their close location to the Mexican border.

Students may need to rethink their Thirsty Thursday plans, as a new study shows that binge drinking is becoming more and more of a problem in college towns.

Binge drinking — having a blood concentration level of at least 0.08 percent or about nine drinks per sitting — has now become a bigger problem than originally thought, according to a study recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study showed that binge drinking has become especially prominent in Southwestern states, such as Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Nevada. These states are heavily populated by college students, making residing in these states more prone to binge drinking, the study said.

More than 38 million people between the ages of 18 and 25 binge drink four times per month, which can lead to more than 80,000 alcohol-related deaths per year, according to the study. This includes deaths from motor vehicle accidents, alcohol poisoning and associated health problems. The study also showed that 90 percent of the time, this age group binge drinks instead of drinking a more moderate amount.

Some UA students, like economics senior Zachary Smith, don’t see binge drinking as a big issue.

“I had never thought that the people around me were much of binge drinkers,” he said.

Smith also said that one of his friends spent more than $500 on alcohol during spring break, and had on average about 20 drinks each sitting.

David Salafsky, director of Health Promotion and Preventative Services at Campus Health Service, said Smith’s friend far exceeded legal intoxication levels.

“While there are factors including sex, weight and tolerance, drinking that much in a sitting is a very high risk.” Salafsky said. Despite this, he said, UA students in general are having less drinks per week over the past few years.

There was a spike in 2008 and 2009, but Campus Health results show a decrease in 2010, he said.

This hasn’t stopped the UA’s efforts to combat binge drinking, however. Sgt. Juan Alvarez, public information officer for University of Arizona Police Department, said that he opposes binge drinking and that both UAPD and Campus Health have worked with students to prevent both binge and underage drinking.

At student orientation for incoming freshmen, UAPD and Campus Health teamed up to inform incoming students about risk factors involving alcohol. Weekly Red Cup Q & A’s with the Daily Wildcat and the Student Health Alcohol and Drug Education allow students to learn more about the effects of alcohol and resources they can use if they encounter a problem with it, he said.

“Binge drinking is a huge detriment to your health. It simply poisons your body and inhibits your ability to make clear decisions,” Alvarez said. “We are trying our best to do our part but we need each student to be aware of (binge) drinking, what it is, preventions and help lines.”

For students interested in decreasing their risk of binge drinking, the CDC advised students to set a liquor limit, keep note of how much you have to drink and not keep too much alcohol sitting in one’s home.

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