April is Alcohol Awareness month and it seems like many young people are getting the message. The good news is that they’re are drinking less than previous generations. Surveys of 8th, 10th and 12th graders show that rates have been steadily declining. The current cohort of college students are consuming less alcohol than in previous years, and their non-student peers are drinking even less.
There is speculation that the “Generation Z” cohort tend to be conscientious about what they consume and are not interested in repeating the embarrassing antics of earlier generations. They seem to be more accepting of others’ choices, including not drinking.
But overuse of alcohol is still taking a big toll on college campuses. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:
- About 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
- About 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault.
- About 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes.
The drinking culture can vary from college to college but at schools where spectator sports are big, drinking rates tend to be higher. A study on the correlation between March Madness participation and college drinking found that one-third of students over 21 and one-fourth of underage students engaged in binge drinking when the school team was part of the NCAA Tournament. They also found that when alcohol was less available at sporting events there were fewer “arrests, assaults, ejections from the stadium, and student referrals to the judicial affairs office,” — all unfortunate situations that can have an impact on a student’s academic future.