Science & Tech

Binge drinking holds steady

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College students continue to drink despite programs

About 44 percent of college undergraduates reported binge drinking at least once in the two weeks prior to being surveyed, according to findings in the 2001 College Alcohol Study, whose results were released March 25, 2002. The study, which was also conducted in 1993, 1997, and 1999, also indicated that, of students who drink, 70 percent engage in bingeing. The study defines binge drinking as having five or more drinks on one occasion for men and four or more drinks on one occasion for women. Frequent binge drinkers binged on at least three occasions in the previous two weeks. “This to us indicates very strong forces are continuing to support drinking on campus,” said Henry Wechsler, director of College Alcohol Studies and a lecturer on social psychology at the Harvard School of Public Health. “The drinking style on campus is still one of excess.” The surprising thing in the most recent study was the steady 44 percent rate despite other positive changes, Wechsler said. That indicates not that those changes were failures, Wechsler said, but that they alone can’t fix the problem.