Risks of Alcohol Use

The decision of a young adult to drink can have both short-term and long-term consequences. The consequences can range from the mild to the severe.


Deaths and injuries:

  • About 1,700 college student between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes (Hingson et al., 2005).
     
  • 559,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol each year (Hingson et al., 2005).


Victims of violence:

  • More than 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted each year by another student who has been drinking (Hingson et al., 2005).
     
  • More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape each year (Hingson et al., 2005).


Health-related issues:

  • 400,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 had unprotected sex and more than 100,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex (Hingson et al., 2002).
     
  • More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem (Hingson et al., 2002).
     
  • Within the past 12 months, as a consequence of drinking, 1.2 percent of college students seriously considered suicide (American College Health Association, 2010).
     
  • According to Wu and colleagues (2007), 12.5 percent of students in the past year met the criteria for alcohol abuse, and 8.1 percent for alcohol dependence.


Academic and legal consequences:

  • About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall (Engs et al., 1996; Presley et al., 1996a, 1996b; Wechsler et al., 2002).
     
  • About 11 percent of college student drinkers report that they have damaged property while under the influence of alcohol (Wechsler et al., 2002).
     
  • About 5 percent of 4-year college students are involved with the police or campus security as a result of their drinking (Wechsler et al., 2002).
     
  • 2.1 million students between the ages of 18 and 24 drove under the influence of alcohol last year (Hingson et al., 2002).
     
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