A study conducted by researchers at Harvard
University found that binge drinking
continues to be a widespread problem among U.S. colleges, Reuters reported Sept.
10. In particular, the report identified binge drinking among fraternity and
sorority students as a major concern. The study, led by Harvard School of Public
Health professor Henry Wechsler, was conducted in 1997 at 116 campuses in 39
states. A total of 14,521 students were interviewed. The researchers found that
42.7 percent of students were binge drinkers, with 20.7 percent frequent binge
drinkers. In addition, 81.1 percent of those living in fraternity or sorority
houses were binge drinkers. Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of at
least five drinks in a row for men or four drinks in a row for women. "If
colleges are to have an impact on their alcohol problems, they must change this
drinking culture drastically," said Wechsler. The survey also indicated
that 22.5 percent of students had unplanned sexual activity while under the
influence of alcohol and 35.8 percent drove after drinking. Frequent binge
drinkers were found to be at least eight times as likely to miss a class, fall
behind in their schoolwork, have blackouts, become injured and damage property.
The results of the survey appear in the September issue of the Journal of
American College Health.