Binge drinking: No age immune
According to the National Institutes of Health, almost 60 percent of college students ages 18 to 22 drank alcohol in the past month. About 66 percent of students nationwide who drink also engaged in binge drinking, which is five or more drinks in a single setting for men and four or more for women. The effects of alcohol in college often continue beyond the party or the bar: About 1 in 4 students also reported academic consequences from drinking, such as lower grades or missing classes entirely.
The study also shows that drinking affects college students, their families, and college communities at large. Researchers estimate that each year:
About 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from unintentional alcohol-related injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes.
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 or date rape.
Surprisingly, a report released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that an average of six people per day die from alcohol poisoning and they aren’t college students.
That report states that those succumbing to alcohol poisoning are not college students, nor the young, but those aged 35 to 64. Nearly 76 percent of all deaths from binge drinking fall into that age group. Most of them are men.
“On average, six people died every day from alcohol poisoning in the US from 2010 to 2012. Alcohol poisoning is caused by drinking large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time. Very high levels of alcohol in the body can shutdown critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, resulting in death. Alcohol poisoning deaths affect people of all ages but are most common among middle-aged adults and men,” according to the CDC.
Alcohol poisoning deaths according to the report:
- Most people who die are 35-64 years old.
- Most people who die are men.
- Most alcohol poisoning deaths are among non- Hispanic whites. Although a smaller share of the US population, American Indians/Alaska Natives have the most alcohol poisoning deaths per million people of any of the races.
- Alaska has the most alcohol poisoning deaths per million people, while Alabama has the least.
- Alcohol dependence (alcoholism) was identified as a factor in 30% of alcohol poisoning deaths
Binge drinking can lead to death from alcohol poisoning:
- Binge drinking (4 or more drinks for women or 5 or more drinks for men in a short period of time) typically leads to a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) that exceeds 0.08 g/dL, the legal limit for driving in all states.
- US adults who binge drink consume an average of about 8 drinks per binge, which can result in even higher levels of alcohol in the body.
- The more you drink the greater your risk of death.
The states with the highest number of deaths from alcohol poisoning include Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Oregon and Oklahoma.
The states with the fewest number of deaths related to alcohol poisoning include Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Illinois, Wisconsin and Idaho.
According to the CDC report, the standard drink in the US contains five percent alcohol for beer, seven percent for malt liquor, 12 percent for wine and 40 percent for distilled spirits such as vodka, whiskey, gin and rum.
The life-threatening signs of alcohol poisoning include vomiting, slow breathing, irregular breathing, seizures and hypothermia, and the inability to wake up from sleep.
Binge drinking is defined as drinking enough to bring the blood alcohol level to 0.08 percent, which puts drivers past the limit in all 50 states.