College is the perfect time to branch out, meet new people, and make lifelong memories. Here at Missouri State, we encourage students to do just that! Unfortunately, pop culture has created an image of college that almost always involves some form of alcohol consumption during these activities. Alcohol has also become viewed as a coping mechanism for those in college. students have reported turning to alcohol due to factors such as stress, an overwhelming course load, and curiosity about limits. (Addiction Center). It is important to realize that the irresponsible consumption of alcohol can be extremely dangerous to yourself and others.
When it comes to alcohol consumption, binge drinking presents one of the biggest threats to personal and community safety. Binge drinking is defined as “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours.” (CDC, 2019) Binge drinking is responsible for almost half of alcohol-related deaths annually (CDC, 2021). Researchers have estimated that around 1,500 college-age students die each year from alcohol-related injury (Hingson, Zha, and Smyth, 2014). For the traditional college-aged student (18-22 years of age), 33% of the approximately 67,000 interviewed in the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported participating in binge drinking in the past month. Of those college-aged students, 8.2% also reported heavy alcohol use within a month. (2019, NSDUH).
Not only can binge drinking lead to a variety of health concerns and ultimately death, but it can also produce academic concerns. About 1 in 4 college students also reported falling behind academically due to binge drinking, including failing tests and missing classes. (Wechsler et al., 1998). Binge drinking can also lead to memory loss, decreased focus, inability to remain conscious, liver diseases, and various cancers.
It is imperative for students to understand the applicable laws and policies surrounding alcohol usage while at Missouri State University. Underage drinking of any kind can lead to legal repercussions, namely a Minor in Possession (MIP) citation from Springfield Police Department. An underage person can be cited under this law for possessing or attempting to purchase alcohol, to be visibility intoxicated, or present with a blood alcohol level over .001%. A Minor in Possession charge can lead to upwards of $1,000 in fines, court costs, and probation. Additionally, the charge will appear on a person’s background checks and criminal records, which can impact future career options (Alliance for Healthy Communities, 2021).
The Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities specifically address alcohol use, possession, and paraphernalia. Section 4.11 states that “Use, possession, or distribution of alcoholic beverages or alcohol paraphernalia (as defined in this Code) except as expressly permitted by the law and university regulations, or public intoxication on university premises. Recommended minimum consequences for violations of the alcohol policy are outlined in Section 7.11.” Violation of the alcohol policy can result in fines, papers, online modules, chemical dependency assessments, University probation, and removal from campus.
Missouri State University proudly offers a variety of events and activities for students that don’t involve alcohol. These activities are commonly sponsored by the Student Activities Council, Student Government Association, or Traditions Council. For on-campus activities, visit the University Event Calendar. Not on campus? Not a problem! Check out the City of Springfield webpage for a full list of “What to Do in Springfield”.
For more information regarding alcohol use, visit some of these resources:
About Alcohol. (2021) Center for Disease Control (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/about.htm
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Table 6.21B – Types of Illicit Drug, Tobacco Product, and Alcohol Use in Past Month among Persons Aged 18 to 22, by College Enrollment Status and Gender: Percentages, 2018 and 2019.
Missouri Minor in Possession Laws. (2021). Alliance for Healthy Communities. https://ahc-stl.org/resources/parent-resources/missouri-minor-in-possession-law-mip/
Wechsler H, Dowdall GW, Maenner G, Gledhill-Hoyt J, Lee H. (2018). Changes in binge drinking and related problems among American college students between 1993 and 1997. Results of the Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study. J Am Coll Health.
What is Binge Drinking? (2019). Center for Disease Control (CDC). https://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm