As colleges and universities begin the new school year, many Freshmen will be leaving homes for the first time. This is a time when they may celebrate their independence and ability to make their own decisions. The decisions they make may have ramifications on their futures. National surveys of colleges and universities indicate that Freshmen are at a high risk for binge drinking.
One such incident happened in January 2017 when a female Freshman at Miami University in Ohio, was found dead in her dorm room after a night of binge drinking. She and her roommate polished off 2 bottles of champagne and 2 small bottles filled with vodka and then proceeded to head to a bar uptown to continue partying. The bar turned them away because they were too drunk so she and her roommate hailed a cab and headed back to their dormitory where the cab driver had to help carry the girl to her room because she had collapsed face first upon exiting the cab. By morning she was dead, reported the Chicago Tribune.
What is binge drinking?
Addictioncenter.com defines binge drinking as excessive drinking over a short period of time. In order to be considered a “binge,” the drinker’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must reach or exceed 0.08 grams per 100 grams of blood.
How alcohol can affect a student’s college life
DrugRehab.com lists 3 ways that alcohol can affect a student’s college life:
- Drinking too much can weaken the immune system, making the body more susceptible to disease. Alcohol can affect the brain, heart, liver and pancreas.
- Binge drinking is associated with many health problems, including: alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, high blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases, liver disease and neurological damage.
- Underage drinking also affects a student’s academic performance with about one in four reporting poor grades, missing classes and bad performance on exams.
Florida has stiff penalties if students drink and drive under the Zero Tolerance law for drivers under 21. Any driver under 21 who is stopped by law enforcement and has a blood alcohol level of .02 or higher will automatically have his/her Florida driver’s license suspended for 6 months. Florida Statutes Section 316.193 requires that interlock devices be installed on vehicles of drivers that are convicted of a DUI.
Florida Weekly reported in 2012 that if a student drives while over the legal limit and he/she causes an accident that results in another person’s death or the death of an unborn child, his/her DUI charge can be elevated to DUI manslaughter, which is a second-degree felony in Florida. Additionally, if the young person is a repeat DUI offender, the DUI charge can be elevated to a felony. A third-offense DUI within a ten-year period is a third-degree felony under Florida law. A DUI manslaughter felony carries up to fifteen years in prison and permanent revocation of the driver’s license.
What strategies are colleges using to stop binge drinking?
NBC News and Summit Estate Recovery Center report that colleges are:
- Creating “Sober Spaces”, substance-free living communities.
- Banning hard liquor on campus.
- Requiring all first-year students to take courses or attend presentations on alcohol abuse.
- Prohibiting alcohol use at sporting events on campus.
- Having campus security or local police set up DUI checkpoints on weekends for students driving back to the campus.
What can parents do?
After dropping your sons or daughters off at college, parents’ responsibilities are not over. They can still remain a major influence on the choices their Freshmen are making. The Florida Institute of Technology publishes an informative fact sheet “What Parents Need to Know about College Drinking.”
“College and university time should be enjoyed. However, if you or a loved one has been injured in an alcohol-related or a DUI accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Spivey Law Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. to determine your rights,” said the Fort Myers DUI Accident Attorney, Randall Spivey.
Hurt By Drunk Driver Attorney, Randall L. Spivey is a Board Certified Trial Attorney – the highest recognition for competence bestowed by the Florida Bar and a distinction earned by just one (1%) percent of Florida attorneys. He has handled over 2,000 personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout Florida. For a free and confidential consultation to discuss your legal rights, contact the Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A., in Lee County at 239.337.7483 or toll free at 1.888.477.4839,or by email to Randall@SpiveyLaw.com. Visit SpiveyLaw.com for more information. You can contact Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A.in Charlotte County at 941.764.7748 and in Collier County 239.793.7748.