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Underage Drinking in a College Campus Research Paper

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Updated: Sep 23rd, 2021

While there is no proof that abstinence from alcoholic drinks enhances the health of any person, the effects of alcohol especially on underage drinkers can be extremely delicate, often taking very dramatic and different dimensions. Apparently, there is so much evidence about the negative effects that excessive intake of alcohol on campus can have on personal wellbeing, health, social and family relationships as well as academic life (Edlin et al., 411). It is therefore essential that every student takes a second thought before they decide to take up the next bottle of liquor.

This paper will highlight the possible causes of underage drinking among college students as well as encourage them to practice responsible drinking if they must drink. The paper is also designed to bring to the attention of college students the unfavorable or negative effects that underage drinking brings about in the lives of the drinkers, their families and the campus community at large. College students will be encouraged to take a positive view of these disadvantages and embrace the advantages of an alcohol-free life.

Underage drinking is a very common phenomenon on most college campuses. On reaching the age of 18 years, the majority of young adults get overwhelmed by the feeling of reaching adulthood. As a result, most of them feel entitled to do practically everything that adults do; after all, at this age, they are also eligible to vote or even serve in the military.

Even though students are categorized as underage, and authorities consider beer drinking among students as irresponsible, most young adults will argue that they have encountered ridiculously drunk adults, who have attained the recommended drinking age. It is therefore a reality that most college students on campus have on more than one occasion enjoyed a beer and alcohol is currently rated as the substance most widely used and abused by young adults on college campuses (Edlin 410).

College culture has been blamed to encourage alcohol consumption on campus and oftentimes; it gets difficult to differentiate between problematic drinking and normal consumption of alcohol (Sharkin 20). This is because, under the college setup, behaviors such as excessive drinking and subsequent loss of control are encouraged and probably valued by students. On college campuses, alcohol use can be a rite of passage, serve as a platform for sexual experimentation or be a channel for identity exploration (Sharkin 20). The use of alcohol has for a long time marked social events like parties, picnics, and ballgames whereby college athletes are known to greatly contribute to the problem because they are more prone to the habit (Edlin 400).

Beer manufacturers and distributors have ensured that this practice carries on and each year, they spend millions of US dollars in liquor advertising with no exception to college and campus newspapers. Because of the positive public image awarded to alcohol through these advertisements, many young people who drink beer do not get to see the harmful effects of the habit (Edlin 398).

As harmless as it may appear to the students, alcohol drinking is a very inconvenient rite of passage. In the US, underage drinking is an illegal practice and a punishable crime as well. Students involved in drinking have often found themselves rubbing shoulders with campus security or even the police. On many occasions, drunk students have been arrested for vandalism and property damage, drunkenness, and drunk driving (Barrett 118, 120-122). Underage drinking has also greatly interfered with the government’s mission of delivering higher education and the problem remains an issue of concern to authorities both on campus and around campus. The worst element about this practice is that it affects both the drinkers and the non-drinkers to some extent (Edlin 400).

Drunkenness has been blamed for academic problems among the drinkers. As a result of alcohol-related illness or hangovers, many drinkers miss classes, a factor that makes them fall behind the rest of the class in performance. Underage drinking has also been blamed for poor performance in exams and related academic papers often leading to very low overall grades. It has also been blamed for financial woes among the students as college students in the US are known to spend more money on liquor than a combination of soft drinks and books (Edlin 400). Although most students limit their drinking to partying, a small section of them gets to the extent of alcohol abuse, a factor that adversely interferes with their academic life or leads to premature termination of the same.

While participants engage in partying as a means of releasing academic stress, having fun, and use it as a forum for meeting new people and identity exploration, non-participants think otherwise (Barrett 11-115). Non-participants view partying as highly dangerous because of the side effects it has among the non-drinkers such as sexual abuse, assault, vulgar language, and humiliation from drunkards, as well as interruption during studies. Non-drinkers also suffer the inconveniences of sleep interruption and having to care for their very drunk colleagues (Edlin 400 – 411).

Consumption of alcohol has been proved to impair judgment. Drank people have very poor judgment about issues and this gets worse where young adults are involved. Young people feel charged up when drunk and they think that it is fun to drive when drunk. As a result, many of them have ended in car crashes in which a good number of them have been seriously injured or even lost their lives (Sharkin 137). Underage drinkers have also been involved in such grisly crimes as rape, assaults, and manslaughter. Many of them have also found themselves, victims, of unprotected, unplanned for and careless sexual acts as well as unintended pregnancies.

Deaths from suicide, homicides, and alcohol poisoning due to excessive drinking are a common occurrence among underage drinkers (Barrett 109,110,125 -129). All these problems occur because some drunken students lose control of the power to make a judgment and the beer cans take over.

Alcohol is a drug and can be very harmful to the user when used irresponsibly. It is a CNS depressant and is thus rated as a drug whose effects are evident in the physiological and mental functioning of the user (Hanson et al., 204). Alcohol causes difficulty in talking, walking, and thinking and has been blamed for memory loss in the drinkers. Long-term consumption of alcohol will seriously damage nearly every organ in the human body thus affecting normal bodily functions and liver disorders such as cirrhosis and alcohol hepatitis are common after prolonged use (Barrett 109).

This normally exposes the victims and their families to extra financial burdens in medical bills that could otherwise have been avoided. Ethanol, a chemical found in alcoholic drinks is quite harmful. The moderate use of alcoholic drinks will usually lead to irregular heartbeat as well as slight dilation of blood vessels under the skin, in the arms and legs. Alcohol has been rated as an appetite stimulator and gastric secretions increase and if no food has been taken leading to erosion of stomach tissues and causing ulceration. This is because many heavy drinkers feed very poorly and as such will suffer from deficiency of essential nutrients leading to malnutrition (Hanson 20). Frequent use of alcohol is likely to lead to a high risk of alcohol dependence or even tolerance commonly referred to as alcoholism (Edlin 412).

No one is better placed to care for the health and general well-being of a person than the individual himself/herself. Responsible drinking should therefore be the goal of every student on a college campus and whether to drink or abstain from alcohol remains the decision of an individual. For those who chose to continue drinking, the number of times alcohol is taken and the amount is their sole responsibility.

However, there are some very helpful guidelines that can help a person stay in control such as taking the responsibility to drink moderately and completely avoiding driving while under the influence of alcohol. A responsible drinker should not push others to drink while partying and should be careful not too severe existing relationships (Edlin 410). Responsible habits established in early adulthood will help improve one’s health and happiness.

Abstinence is the better option as it gives room to students to accomplish their academic goals, the main reason why they find themselves on campus but if anyone must drink, let them drink responsibly. But it requires a lot of discipline and self-determination to maintain abstinence in a culture where partying is a normal part of the day to day life.

Works Cited

Edlin Gordon, Golanty Eric and Gordin Edlin. Health and Wellness. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2007.

Hanson Glen R., Venturelli Peter J., and Fleckenstein Anette E. Drugs and Society. Jones & Bartlett Publishers, 2005.

Seaman Barrett. Binge: What Your College Student Won’t Tell You: Campus Life in an Age of Disconnection and Excess. John Wiley and Sons, 2005.

Sharkin Bruce S. College Students in Distress. A Resource Guide for Faculty, Staff, and Campus Community. Haworth Press, 2006.

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