Letter to the Editor

BY DI READERS | MARCH 12, 2010 7:30 AM

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Binge drinking not deviant

According to data from the National College Health Association and the University of Iowa’s Office of Student Services, 70 percent of UI students binge drink. Binge drinking should not be considered deviant. It is just a defined number of drinks consumed continuously. There are many students who regularly have four to five drinks or more in a night and do not cause problems or commit crimes.

The study shows the amount of perceived “fun” that 70 percent of students are looking for when going out is found above the legal limit of .08 blood-alcohol concentration. Bingers are chasing an alcohol high that may be between .10 to .14 blood-alcohol level. At that point, they may feel happy, excited, less socially inhibited, and more confident. That is why they like it. They are seeking a state of mind that is conducive to the connection with others that bars and parties help facilitate.

It is difficult to say where individuals should cut themselves off, but most know how much they can handle and when they get there. The problems arise when students underestimate the power of alcohol and ignorantly or unexpectedly reach blood-alcohol levels that are too high for acceptable behavior.

More education and initiatives should promote responsible binge drinking. For example: an awareness campaign emphasizing the importance of pacing oneself to an average of two drinks per hour or fewer, regularly mixing in ice waters with beverage orders, and not drinking on an empty stomach.

Binge drinkers must be taught to manage consumption so they can achieve their targeted state of mind without harming anyone. Most do not set out to get arrested, act violently, or do something they will regret the next day. They only want to take a break from the stresses of college, socialize with peers, and have a good time.

Tim Furman
UI graduate student

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