To the Editor,
Binge drinking does not only affect one’s health for a single night, but can have effects on one’s health for many years to come.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking takes a toll on the intellectual and social lives of students on campuses across the United States (2017). Unfortunately, the issue of binge drinking in college-aged students is significant in the small town of Vermillion. It is no secret that the students at the University of South Dakota engage in binge drinking activities frequently, and would fall into the same statistics that the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism survey shows. 60 percent of college students have consumed alcohol in the past month, and two out of three students engaged in binge drinking activities (2017).
Every year, nearly 1,825 college students between the ages of 18-24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries. This is one of the most growing public and global health issues, yet funding for activities, education, and interventions are still limited. Over the long term, binge drinking can damage the liver and organs, and lead to alcoholism. Although binge drinking may be hard to target, college campuses need to be the main focus. It is unacceptable that intervention programs such as extra activities, and education are not being pushed as bigger issues. We have the ability to save the lives of many students by simply implementing stricter interventions.
Along with the death of 2,000 students per year, 696,000 students across the United States have been assaulted by another student who has been drinking, and 97,000 students reported experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault. Vermillion does not have an array of activities that students can take part in and be actually interested in. Healthy People 2020 states, “For a community to improve its health, its members must often change aspects of the physical, social, organizational, and even political environments in order to eliminate or reduce factors that contribute to health problems or to introduce new elements that promote better health” (Education and Community-Based Programs). Our town needs funding to educate students on the impact binge drinking can have on their life. By implementing individual and environmental interventions alcohol-related incidents will lower, academic problems will decrease, quality of life will improve, and ultimately we can take part in saving the lives of students.
Sydney Sutten, Vermillion SD