The plague of excessive drinking goes far beyond one’s grades, it penetrates into one’s living fabric and destroys it. Excessive drinkers are two to five times as likely as other drinkers to engage in unplanned or unprotected sex, involving in accidents or injuries and damaging properties and getting into fights and legal troubles. There is no tentative statistics on students who lose their lives to alcoholism. Maybe you have had a roommate who binged on alcohol. Maybe your present classmate, friend or roommate is a binger. If so you have a first hand experience of how these people make life miserable for themselves and those around them. From sexual assault to vandalism, the pain of having bingers around is better expressed than experienced.
It is high time we lived up to our calling as students. There is an urgent need for students to help in mounting an aggressive campaign against excessive drinking on and off campuses. It is a worthwhile initiative, which will be targeted at drinkers and non-drinkers alike because knowledge is power and information is one avenue through which knowledge could be disseminated. It is also very imperative for college administrators to wake up to this emerging threat and reality on campuses, an encroaching social epidemic. The administrators, students, community leaders, policy makers and law enforcement agencies are critically important if this war would be won. There is an overriding need to embrace prevention programs in colleges and universities. There ought to be a vigorous drive for students in the business of binging to seek help through counseling. The use of posters, brochures and most importantly an alcohol awareness week is very imperative. Schools should also include stringent alcohol policies and associated penalties to attract responsible and responsive non-binge drinkers. Low tolerance alcohol policy would go a long way in alleviating the problem of binge drinking. Although there is a tendency for drinkers to drink out of school premises or drink underground, schools with tough anti-drinking policies attract fewer students who crave to party and drink at all times. Putting such policies in place is not a panacea in and of itself, but the enforcement is the key, displacing the desire to party and drink with other meaningful, intellectually stimulating and socially relevant activities.
This is obviously a race that has to be won by everybody. From the student leader on campus to the pub and liquor store operator; from the administrators of colleges to the community leaders; there is an urgent need to step up to this epidemic in our mist. Schools can wield their economic clout to compel local governments and alcohol control boards to spring to action. There is no doubt that although colleges and universities would never be free from binge-drinkers, the norms when changed would go a long way in stemming this tide sweeping across American College campuses.
*Article was republished for the November 2010 Addiction Issue
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I was born in Nigeria and was educated in Nigeria, USA and Australia. I am the founder and president of Christina-Mae Recruitment Consortium Australia and the author of the book "When Things Go Wrong: Concepts of Change". I am also the co-founder of Child Aid Survival and Development International (CASDI). As a freelance journalist, I have contributed to a number of professional journals and newspapers, as well as worked in a number of e-journalism projects. I have traveled extensively and currently call Australia and the USA home with extensive involvement in African Human Rights issues.
Chijioke Obinna Okonkwo
| May 11th, 2011
this is a nice piece
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