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Campus Safety: Talk early and often about drinking

JACKSON, MISS– College students have returned to campus this week and with that comes the chance of experimenting with alcohol. Inline image 1

The first six weeks on campus are a crucial time for college freshmen, many of whom engage in excessive drinking, with some serious consequences including vandalism, violence, sexual assault and even death. 

Those consequences can affect students whether they drink or not, according to the National Institute on Alcohol abuse and Alcoholism(NIAAA).

“This is a different time for them, as they’re away from home for the first time, a lot of unstructured time,” said Dr. George Koob with NIAAA. “But it is also a stressful time in academia with new and harder classes starting.”

 

Koob said it is at this point that social behavior can turn dangerous if the student abuses alcohol, especially as a stress reliever.

“The earlier you begin drinking, and the earlier you begin drinking excessively, it increases the probability of an alcohol use disorder later in life,” said Koob. “You’ll have an issue with brain development as well, because the frontal cortex of the brain isn’t fully developed until 25.”

There are consequences of excessive drinking, especially on college campuses.

“You’ll see impairment in academic ability, exposure to sexual assault, and even overdose or death,” said Koob. “It’s a huge problem.”

Koob said the best prevention to alcohol abuse among college students is conversation.

“Talk to your kids,” said Koob. “Watch for signs of a problem. Listen to them. You know them better than anyone else. Create an open door for conversation.”

Click here for more advice on how to talk to your kids about alcohol.

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