Although the majority of students come to college already having some experience with alcohol, certain aspects of college life, such as unstructured time, the widespread availability of alcohol, inconsistent enforcement of underage drinking laws, and limited interactions with parents and other adults, can intensify the problem. In fact, college students have higher binge-drinking rates and a higher incidence of driving under the influence of alcohol than their non-college peers.
The first 6 weeks of freshman year are a vulnerable time for heavy drinking and alcohol-related consequences because of student expectations and social pressures at the start of the academic year.
Research shows that students who choose not to drink often do so because their parents discussed alcohol use and its adverse consequences with them.
Watch this Education & Prevention video to generate a discussion with your student on drinking at school.
Parents can help by:
- Talking with students about the dangers of harmful and underage college drinking—such as the penalties for underage drinking, and how alcohol use can lead to date rape, violence, and academic failure.
- Reaching out periodically and keeping the lines of communication open, while staying alert for possible alcohol-related problems.
- Reminding students to feel free to reach out to them to share information about their daily activities, and to ask for help if needed.
- Learning about the school’s alcohol prevention and emergency intervention efforts.
- Making sure students know signs of alcohol overdose or an alcohol-related problem, and how to help.
Listed below are tools you can use as a parent to help your young adult prepare for the year ahead.