Better Drinking Culture on College Campuses 

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Written By: Ryley Jones, BS, OCPSA

We have all seen one of those movies that glorifies “the college experience” whether it’s Neighbors, 22 Jump Street, or The Life of the Party it most likely includes partying and heavy drinking. How the media portrays college has a huge impact on our perception of drinking in college. College students tend to believe that almost all of their peers drink, and the data proves this.

The National College Health Assessment (NCHA) conducted by American College Health Association (ACHA) is a nationally recognized research survey that can assist in collecting precise data about college students’ health habits, behaviors, and perceptions. In 2019, the National College Health Assessment data showed that the actual use of any alcohol in the past 30 days was 58.4%. While the perceived use of any alcohol in the past 30 days was 92.9%.

In spring of 2022, the NCHA found that 66.7% of college students drank alcohol in the last three months. The National College Health Assessment conducted in the spring of 2022 also showed that 33.0% of college students engaged in binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks on one occasion for men or 4 or more drinks on one occasion for women.

*Disclaimer: The National data regarding actual consumption vs. perceived consumption was collected prior to the Covid-19 pandemic. The effects of Covid-19 on the actual consumption vs perceived consumption in college students is unknown at this time.

Tips on Creating a Better Drinking Culture:

  • Educate students about standard drink sizes
  • Implement social norms campaigns in order to correct misperceptions
  • Create alcohol-free events in your community
  • Teach students how many drinks are considered binge drinking
  • Promote mental well-being, and mental health resources