College Student

Back to School: Alcohol Education in College

Labor Day weekend is upon us, and that means school’s back in session for most colleges. While this may not be true for all new college freshman, going away to school is typically the first time teens get to experience a new level of freedom. Having recently finished my freshman year of college and therefore able to speak from experience, I know this freedom can be great. It allowed me to establish my own self and figure out how to take care of my needs without fully relying on my parents.

An Upward Trend: Alcohol Abuse in College

At the same time though, some students use this new-found freedom as a way to experiment with drugs and alcohol in an environment free from their parents’ watchful eyes. Many even feel as if drinking is a right of passage for them in their college experience. Some colleges even seem to promote this idea by classifying themselves as “wet campuses,” meaning that although they still prohibit alcohol consumption by those under the legal age, they do not enforce against alcohol consumption, and students who are 21 and over are allowed to drink on campus and in their dorm rooms.

College drinking has become a huge trend across the United States, with roughly four out of five students admitting to drinking, and about half of those who reportedly drink also admit to having partaken in binge drinking in the past two weeks.

Regardless of whether or not a student chooses to drink while in college, they are almost guaranteed to experience the effects of college drinking. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, every year there are numerous consequences to college drinking, such as lower academic performance, health issues, injuries, sexual assault, drunk driving, and close to 2,000 deaths. These consequences not only affect the college, but the surrounding communities and families as well.

On the Rise: Using eLearning to Combat College Drinking

Colleges across the country are working hard to try to counteract the rise in drinking. According to a research study done on the identification, prevention, and treatment of college drinking problems performed by Mary E. Larimer and Jessica M. Cronce (2002), the most effective way to deal with the epidemic of college drinking includes multiple components, such as providing alcohol information, training in safe drinking habits, and giving feedback.

These components can easily be combined and taught to students through elearning courses, which many schools have started to do through a program called AlcoholEdu. This program is an alcohol awareness course targeted at all college students and has been proven to reduce the frequency and intensity of alcohol consumption. Students who have taken the course report that due to this course they think more about what they’re doing before making the decision to partake in drinking.

My college is one such school that has tried to take a proactive method on combating college drinking with AlcoholEdu. The course was then followed up a few months later with another shorter course meant to see if and how your habits and perceptions on college drinking had changed. This follow-up course has helped to gather research regarding college drinking and has proven proactive alcohol education elearning courses to be successful in aiding college students to make safer decisions.

While OpenSesame does not offer an alcohol safety course directed specifically at college students, check out these other alcohol safety courses we do offer for how to stay safe in any alcohol related situation!

Additional source: Larimer, M., and Cronce, J. Identification, prevention and treatment: A review of individual-focused strategies to reduce problematic alcohol consumption by college students. Journal of Studies on Alcohol (Suppl. 14):148–163, 2002