Study Finds Drinking by College Students on the Rise

June 15, 2009

Despite university campaigns to discourage alcohol abuse, a new study shows that drinking-related activities among college students have increased over the last decade.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which used figures from government databases and national surveys, the number of alcohol-related deaths among 18- to 24-year-olds rose from 1,440 in 1998 to 1,825 in 2005.

Binge drinking, more formally titled “episodic drinking,” saw a 3-percent increase in the same time frame, from 42 percent to 45 percent, and the number of students admitting to driving under the influence in the past year jumped from 26.5 percent to 29 percent.

“The fact that we’re not making progress is very concerning,” said Ralph Hingson, the lead researcher and director of the institute’s division of epidemiology and prevention research. “The irony is that during this same time period, our knowledge of what works as far as intervention in this age group has increased. That knowledge isn’t yet being put into place.” —Ashley C. Killough