Opinion | UA Students are uninformed on the dangers of over-drinking  

Hannah Shedd, Contributing Columnist

Many students drink alcohol, but not everyone is aware of the serious and severe consequences of binge drinking.

Around 25% of U.S. adults participate in binge drinking, with the most common age group consisting of 18 to 34 year olds. Binge-drinking produces several dangers, many of which students do not take seriously due to the normalization of this toxic habit.  

Whether students experience severe hangovers, vomiting fits after binge drinking, or poor-decision making, there are ways to easily prevent these unpleasant and often dangerous effects.   

There are numerous misconceptions surrounding binge drinking, and many people are in denial that they participate in the behavior. Over-drinking is not viewed as an issue by many individuals because it’s not a daily occurrence. However, binge drinking still causes issues for people who do not participate in it everyday. 

Some consequences of binge drinking include serious injury from alcohol poisoning, motor vehicle crashes, violence, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies, chronic diseases, memory issues and more. 

Certain demographics tend to binge-drink more than others, such as men, who binge-drink twice as much as women. Binge-drinking is also more common in adults who have higher household incomes and are non-Hispanic white. College students tend to binge-drink more than older adults, which has inspired campaigns such as Less Than You Think — a student-run campaign at The University of Alabama. 

LTUT originated at the University in 2009 as an anti-binge drinking campaign with the mission of educating students on the reality of over-drinking. It has now spread to 11 college campuses, including two chapters in Argentina. They have also received over 100 awards for their efforts.  

LTUT seeks to raise awareness about the dangers of binge drinking and methods to ensure safety by being relatable to students.  

Through social media, they spread awareness by sharing graphics relating to students’ interests, such as band parties or “The Bachelorette.”  

In addition to their social media presence, they also host events that educate students in interactive and engaging ways.  

In fact, LTUT inspired Shaquille O’Neil to make an appearance at the University in 2012 to help LTUT make a PSA about binge drinking.   

“At LTUT, we just want to start conversations about binge drinking with students,” said LTUT’s Media Coordinator Alison Reed.

Reed continued by explaining that a conversational approach is more effective than the scare tactics frequently used by other anti-drug and anti-drinking campaigns.  

Additionally, LTUT is different from other anti-drinking campaigns because they are focused on anti-binge drinking rather than opposing all drinking.  

“We all know people are going to drink, but finding ways to do it smarter and safer is our big focus,” Reed said.  

LTUT seeks to diminish the misconceptions surrounding binge drinking, such as current beliefs about vomiting while intoxicated.  

“Vomiting is a defense mechanism. It’s a warning sign that the body has reached a certain level of toxicity,” said Delynne Wilcox, assistant director of health planning and prevention at The University of Alabama. “You’re not in the free and clear after you throw up.” 

Reed said that over-drinking is a prevalent issue in college-aged students, but there are ways to alleviate this issue. One method is to take care of your friends when they are drinking and helping them know when it’s time to stop. 

There are many ways to know when someone may need to stop consuming alcohol for the night. For instance, if you see someone exhibiting slurred speech, impaired coordination skills, confusion and memory problems or personality changes, it may be time to step in and help divert their attention from alcohol consumption.  

Additionally, Students can support LTUT and spread awareness about binge drinking dangers by interacting with and sharing their posts on their Instagram account.  

LTUT is also hosting an upcoming event called “Dinner over Drinks,” which is a food truck event that will focus on the idea that food consumption can alleviate binge drinking effects.  

Don’t let binge drinking take control of your college experience. Over-drinking fosters regret, and students are already overwhelmed enough without the addition of hangovers and blurred decision-making.