Binge Drinking at College: How to Stop It

Although some drinking problems begin during the college years, many students entering college bring established drinking practices with them. If your child was drinking alcohol in high school, be alert for problems in college. Binge drinking means having five drinks in a row for males, and four for females. Here are suggestions to help your college-age child avoid binge drinking:

  • Make your attitudes clear. Discuss your expectations for your child's lifestyle and academic performance. The first six weeks of enrollment are critical, because many students initiate heavy drinking during these early days of college.

  • Show interest. Ask about classes, friendships and other healthy aspects of campus life. Let your child know these things are important. Schools where excessive alcohol use is more likely to occur include schools where fraternities and sororities dominate; schools where athletic teams are prominent; and schools located in the Northeast.

  • Check your own behavior. Are you unconsciously promoting the idea that drinking to excess is OK?

  • Work with the youngster's college. Encourage substance-free dorms and social events. Ask that bar owners not offer happy hours and other promotions.

  • Don't give up. What you say and do really can make a difference.