Alcohol Awareness: Get Informed

Graphic+showing+how+alcohol+can+affect+different+body+systems.

Legacy Healing Center

“Graphic showing how alcohol can affect different body systems.”

Often leaving for college is one of the most renewing feelings, since most students finally have some freedom and independence from parental figures. Due to the new and exciting transition, college students generally try things out of their comfort zone, but most don’t understand the dangers and effects.

“Binge drinking is very prevalent in the college environment; that’s something we frequently see at parties and events,” mentions Barbara Ferrara, Lieutenant over Police Compliance and Training. “We lose almost 2,000 college-aged kids yearly, between 1,700 and 2,000, from binge drinking and alcohol poisoning. That’s not just prevalent in the college setting; that’s prevalent in high school too.”

At every university, avoiding being around someone or putting yourself in a situation with alcohol is almost inevitable. Unfortunately, getting your hands on alcohol is easier nowadays, even if you’re underage. Considering alcohol is more accessible in college, the freedom can be overpowering and easily abused. Binge drinking is known as the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short time. Due to consuming a lot of alcohol in a brief period of time, the body cannot handle it.

“Everybody is different,” explains Lieutenant Ferrara. “It depends on whether you are male, female, your weight, body fat, composition, all that stuff factors into that, but when you drink alcohol, it goes into your stomach, the intestines and then it’s processed by the liver, and that’s what filters it out. So, when you have too much, it becomes a poison that your body is unable to handle.”

Alcohol affects your body in many ways. Some short-term effects include injuring yourself from being impaired, having risky sexual behavior towards yourself or others, being violent and harming yourself. Long-term effects include high blood pressure, heart disease, frequent strokes, liver disease, digestive problems, memory loss, cancer, social issues and alcohol dependence. Regarding the brain, alcohol interferes with communication pathways, how the brain works, looks and develops can alter the size of neurons.

“In all, alcohol can affect someone’s grades or academic performance,” states Lieutenant Ferrara. “It can affect jobs by missing work or not being hired if a background check shows alcohol-related arrests or convictions.”

Movies tend to glorify the “college life” of partying, which usually includes drinking; however, the effects are not discussed enough. Turning to alcohol or even drinking in the first place can be a slippery slope, so it is at least essential to understand safety precautions. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse, as of 2021, 24.0% of people aged 18 years and older said they repeatedly binge drink.

“As far as the programs offered on campus go, we have all of our current programs listed on our website, and so if someone wants a specific program or they have questions about programs, all they have to do is shoot me an email, and we can arrange for it,” says Lieutenant Ferrara.

It is only natural to experience new things while away from home at college, but it is essential to be informed about how to be safe and smart. Always follow the buddy system and never turn to alcohol after a difficult day. Enjoy your experience in college but know how to be accountable for yourself. If you want more information or know someone struggling, do not be afraid to reach out to Lieutenant Ferrara. It is better to be careful than too late.

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