Take healthy attitude about alcohol when heading off to college

Summer passes all too quickly, and before you know, it will be time for this area's young people to head off to college. Along with all the ''stuff'' they take, we'd like them to take a clear appreciation of the deadly risks of binge drinking.

The Associated Press recently reported on a study it did, showing that 157 college age people drank fatal doses of alcohol between 1999 and 2005, with the annual number of deaths trending upward.

The biggest risk falls on freshmen students out in the world on their own for the first time and eager for new experiences. Out of 18 freshman drinking deaths, 11 occurred in the first semester, an AP analysis of news stories showed.

College students don't drink much more than other adults, but they tend to pack all their drinking into a shorter time span, with weekends and the after-final exam days in December prime examples. Binge drinking is more prevalent among college students than others in the 18 to 22 age range.

A young person's 21st birthday has proven to be a highly risky time for drinking. One birthday practice is to drink 21 shots for a 21st birthday, which proved fatal for 11 young adults, including eight college students, the AP noted.

Some colleges have taken steps to promote awareness of the dangers associated with heavy drinking, and that is commendable. More intensive efforts would likely be useful. The toll of alcohol deaths studied by the AP even included one young woman who had been involved in high school alcohol-awareness programs.

The more reminders to be responsible about drinking, the more likely a young person will absorb the advice and make it part of their own behavior, even when the drinks are flowing freely around them

source: Morning Journal