This documentary was created with the intent of bringing to light the issues that are causing the death of 1,700 young adults across the nation every year, turning another 100,000 into victims of sexual assault, and injuring up to 700,000. We’re referring to binge drinking, alcohol-laden hazing rituals, and rapid-fire drinking games. These behaviors would have never become so intertwined with the college experience if a few crucial steps had been followed. Young adults need to be taught that there is a better and safer way.
On the afternoon of September 16, 2004, 18-year-old Lynn Gordon Bailey Jr., an incoming freshman at the University of Colorado, pledged Chi Psi Fraternity. The next morning, barely a month after his arrival at college, he was found dead. He had become the victim of an irresponsible and ridiculous hazing ritual involving excessive alcohol. A sad situation, no doubt. But what made it even more painful is the fact that it was a senseless act that could have been easily prevented.
When asked why they drink in excess, the answer coming from one college student is “we have two to three days a week where we can, so we do”. This nonchalant attitude is precisely the reason why binge drinking has become such a huge problem on campuses. Kids are drinking to get drunk. It’s no longer for recreation or relaxation, but to pass out. That’s the goal. Close to 50% of college students in the U.S use alcohol and illegal drugs on a regular basis and around 22% of them meet the medical diagnostic criteria for alcohol abuse or addiction.
According to Henry Weschler from Harvard School of Public Health, about 44% of college students are binge drinkers. He states that for men that means about five drinks in a row and four for women. However, for Aaron White from Duke University Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, the percentages are much higher. According to White, 40% of students binge drink around 5 to 9 drinks in a row. 25% do 11 to 15 drinks in a row and 20% drink more than 15 drinks in a row. This last group is the most dangerous of all.
John McCardell, Jr. Founder of Choose Responsibility, states that this generation is not likely to march on the streets with signs or sit for hours in front of a building demanding social change, but they are acting up nonetheless by pumping dangerous amounts of alcohol into their systems.
Would it make a difference if the legal drinking age were changed? After all, kids are obviously not waiting until they’re 21 to start drinking. Would educational programs that highlight the dangers of drinking help? Or should we just point to parents and demand that they do a better job of preparing their kids for college? Watch now to find out what needs to be done.