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As college students around the country settle in for the spring semester, a new infographic from 12Keys provides an interesting picture of the role alcohol plays on campus.

Big Drinking on Campus

In 2012, an estimated 21.6 million students enrolled in fall classes and 80% of them had an alcoholic drink at some point. Of those students who drank, roughly 50% showed binge drinking tendencies. That’s 8.5 million students, or more people than there are in the entire state of Virginia.

Think being an athlete deters students from drinking? Think again. Nearly 90% of athletes have reported drinking.

Female students tend to consume 4 drinks per week versus male students, who drink more than double the amount at 9 drinks a week. Persons become at-risk drinkers, or those most likely to become alcoholic, when the number of drinks per week climb. In at-risk women, the number of drinks per week is 7 per week; for men the number is 14.

Reasons to Be Concerned About College Drinking

Excessive drinking by college students can have major consequences. Each year:

  • A quarter of students have issues with academics as a result of drinking.  They miss class, fall behind and suffer from poor and failing grades.
  • Roughly 600,000 students are injured unintentionally while under the influence of alcohol. About 690,000 individuals of college age report having been assaulted by someone who was drinking.
  • More than 1,800 college students die from alcohol related incidents and injuries.

Parents and teens need to have honest conversations about the reality of alcohol and drug misuse before students head off to college. Being away from home means more freedom and independence, and when students have sound information about the dangers of alcohol misuse they are more likely to make better choices.

If parents and students avoided “party schools” and colleges that fail to address alcohol issues, would administrators take college drinking more seriously?

Infographic by 12 Keys Rehab
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Courtney Gordner

Courtney Gordner

Courtney Gordner is a professional writer and blog editor who focuses on issues in public relations, communications, and digital content. She graduated from Pennsylvania State University with a degree in journalism.


  1. I believe that nobody should be aloud to drink and drive no matter how much they have had to drink. I think that policing should be better at night especially if there is a big event going on and at the bars for sure.Also i think in all new cars, that breathalizer should be in the cars and if they go somewhere past a certain time at night they should have to blow into it to start their car. Also if people are getting into trouble with drunk driving, i think that tougher laws should get passed, so they learn a lesson and not be on the road putting other peoples lives in danger.

  2. Should people between the ages of 18-20 be allowed to drink beverages that contain lowered alcohol content?

  3. I’d say quite the opposite. When you compare the youth in America to the youth in many European countries, you’ll see that we have fewer alcohol related incidences. The reason is because youth in the EU are allowed to drink before going off to college, so parents are allowed to help mold their children to be productive/responsible people in a world filled with alcohol. Compare that to the US, where youth are given unlimited loans in the form of “student loans,” mom/dad’s money in some instances, and are thrust into a very alcohol heavy atmosphere (college).

    I’d rather teach my children how to drink responsibly while living at home with me, than hope they are responsible in college.

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