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Some Truth About College Drinking

Some Truth About College Drinking

The statistics on college drinking can be pretty sobering. So before you chug that beer or down that kamikaze, check out some more facts: According to national surveys of college drinking:

  • More than 500,000 full-time students at four-year colleges are injured every year in alcohol-related accidents, and nearly 1,700 die in those accidents (, August 18, 2008).
  • Nearly 300,000 of today’s college students who drink excessively will die prematurely of cirrhosis, various cancers, heart disease and other alcohol-related causes (Core Institute, 2005).
  • 159,000 first-year students won’t make it to their sophomore year because of alcohol—or drug-related—problems (Phoenix House, 2008).
  • One night of heavy drinking can limit your ability to understand abstract ideas like textbook reading or a football play for as long as 30 days (Phoenix House, 2008).
  • Alcohol is involved in 95 percent of violent crimes on college campuses and in 90 percent of college rapes (Hingston et al., 2005).
  • Most students spend an average of $900 a year on booze—but only $450 on books. On campuses across the country, that adds up to a cool $5.5 billion—that’s more than students spend on soft drinks, milk, juice, tea, coffee and books combined (Levy et al., 1999).

Where do you fit in?

The good news about drinking statistics on campus is that most students that do drink, drink responsibly. According to the Core Institute, one of America’s leading research institutions on college drinking habits, most students have less than six drinks per week. Women drink half as much as men. More than one in four students have not had any drinks in the past 30 days.

Phoenix House. Facts on tap

Hingson, R. et al. (2005). Magnitude of Alcohol-Related Mortality and Morbidity Among U.S. College Students Ages 18-24: Changes from 1998 to 2001. Annual Review of Public Health, 26, p. 259-279. Available online at:

Levy, D. T., Stewart, K., & Wilbur, P. M. (1999). Costs of underage drinking. Rockville, MD: Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation.