well it's a good thing that marijuana and ecstasy are illegal, if they weren't people might drink less! then think of all the tax dollars that'd be lost.College drinking related to 1,400 deaths annually and 70,000 cases of sexual assault
April 9, 2002 Posted: 11:53 AM EDT (1553 GMT)
WASHINGTON (AP) -- An estimated 1,400 college students are killed every year in alcohol-related accidents, according to a study released Tuesday -- a study that researchers call the most comprehensive look ever at the consequences of student drinking.
The researchers say the figures show that college drinking needs to seen as a major health concern.
"Historically, I think there has been the view that whatever college students are doing, it's not that serious a problem, it's a rite of passage," said Kenneth J. Sher, a psychology professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia.
The study by the federally supported Task Force on College Drinking estimated that drinking by college students contributes to 500,000 injuries and 70,000 cases of sexual assault or date rape. Also, 400,000 students between 18 and 24 years old reported having had unprotected sex as a result of drinking.
The study does not say whether the problems are increasing or decreasing. A Harvard School of Public Health survey released last month reported that more students are abstaining from alcohol, but levels of binge drinking -- having at least four or five drinks at a sitting -- are the same as in the early 1990s.
The new report is one of 24 studies commissioned by the task force of college presidents, scientists and students convened by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The institute is part of the National Institutes of Health.
Most of the papers will be published in the forthcoming March issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol.
Researchers integrated various databases and survey results to reach their findings.
Motor vehicle fatalities were the most common form of alcohol-related deaths. The statistics included college students killed in car accidents if the students had alcohol in their blood, even if the level was below the legal limit.
Students who died in other alcohol-related accidents, such as falls and drownings, were included. Those who died as a result of homicides or suicides were not.
Chief researcher Ralph Hingson of the Boston University School of Public Health said he believes the estimates are more likely to be too conservative than overstated.
"I think actually getting the numbers out will help the public understand that this is a very large problem, perhaps a larger problem than people might have otherwise thought," he said.