NCAA hopes to reduce alcohol abuse by educating student athletes about its consequences

Drinking on the campus has become a ritual among college students. In fact, it is widely considered as a rite of passage into adulthood. The college students jump into this ritual without a second thought to the dangerous consequences. Many students already come with prior experience in drinking and the college environment only serves to exacerbate the problem.

As such, binge drinking is a common phenomenon on the college campuses that especially result in grave consequences. Although it is illegal for people below 21 to drink alcohol, around 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the United States (U.S.) are by people between 12 and 20 years of age. Over 90 percent of this alcohol consumption is during binge drinking. On an average, underage users consume more drinks than the adult users on any drinking occasion.

According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug and Health (NSDUH), about 9.2 percent of underage individuals aged 12 to 17 were currently consuming alcohol. Although drinking patterns vary by age and gender, adolescents are more vulnerable to alcohol addiction and its associated negative effects. The culture of drinking on college campuses put students at the risk of encountering grave problems in their overall health, academics, relationships, etc.

Due to the negative effect on the key cognitive-behavioral skills, the college-goers indulging in persistent and excessive drinking witness a number of problems related learning and memory that leads to poor performance in academics. Other  consequences include delinquency, risky sexual conduct, unwanted pregnancies, physical and sexual assault (date rape), vulnerability to drug abuse, higher risk for suicide and homicide, drunk driving and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls and drowning, death from alcohol poisoning, etc. Those who start drinking before the age of 15 are six times more vulnerable to developing alcohol addiction later in life.

Youth education can prevent irresponsible alcohol use

Considering the growing menace of underage drinking, a robust alcohol education program is needed to educate students about the potential problems associated with alcohol abuse. The authorities need to develop clinical and counseling programs equipped to assist students on various fronts, such as personal development, psychoemotional problems and academic performance. Compared to other students, the stress of performance is comparatively more pronounced among those juggle high-pressure roles, such as student athletes.

They may experience a variety of challenges that non-athlete students do not encounter, the dual responsibility of excelling in both academics and sports may drive them toward alcohol abuse to help cope with all kinds of stresses and strains. Since student athletes are regarded as leaders by their peers and the college authorities, it becomes essential to send the right message across all youngsters.

This is primarily because the rest of the students are deemed to look up to them and emulate their behaviors. Therefore, the award of grants to 13 colleges nationwide by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to educate college athletes about alcohol abuse is a welcome step in this direction.

The NCAA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the well-being and lifelong success of the college athletes. Bloomsburg University (BU), a member of NCAA Division II athletics, is one among the chosen institutions that has received a three-year $30,000 NCAA Choices Grant to engage student athletes in programs aimed at reducing alcohol abuse across the campuses.

BU boasts of more than 500 student athletes who are involved in 20 sports. By targeting athletes, the aim of the policymakers is to ensure that others look up to them as role models and focus on making the right choices, reducing underage drinking and other problems.

Road to recovery

Indulgence in underage drinking is far more dangerous than  any other pattern of drinking to the community. Given the role of youngsters in the progress of the community, it becomes essential to make earnest efforts to address such challenges. It is recommended to implement stringent measures, such as reducing exposure to alcohol-based advertisements, educational campaigns, etc., to keep youngsters away from the complications of alcohol.

If you or someone you know is addicted to alcohol, contact the Alcohol Addiction Get Help Helpline. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-281-3014 or chat online with our experts to know about some of the finest alcohol addiction treatment centers in your vicinity.